Titans crush 'circus' Lions
Johannesburg - Morne Morkel took five wickets and Blake Snijman made an unbeaten 67 as the Titans outplayed the Highveld Lions in their MTN40 match at the Wanderers on Friday, beating them by nine wickets with 75 balls in hand.
The hosts looked like worn-out old circus lions as they crawled their way to a miserable127 all out with more than five overs still to face. At one stage, they were barely scoring a run an over.
Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Jonathan Vandiar and Andre Nel all made ducks, while captain Neil McKenzie, Cliffie Deacon and Aaron Phangiso made one each.
Only Thami Tsolekile and Werner Coetsee showed any resistance, with a seventh-wicket partnership of 46, before Coetsee was caught by Francois du Plessis off Paul Harris for 29. Tsolekile ended the innings unbeaten on 32.
Despite bowling six wides - one of which went for four runs - Morne Morkel showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with, as he took five wickets for 34 runs. He looked sharp and aggressive, and Proteas coach Mickey Arthur would have been pleased with his performance.
Harris and Ethy Mbhalati weighed in with two wickets each, and David Wiese took one.
Faced with a meagre target of 128, the Titans barely raised a sweat. The Lions celebrated mightily when Cliffie Deacon finally got a breakthrough, with Gulam Bodi caught behind by Tsolekile for 18, in the 12th over, but none of the other bowlers were able to make any inroads.
Nel appeared to be a spent force, despite baring his teeth and showing the "Gunther" side of his personality, but although the Lions' bowling was disciplined, they just did not have enough runs to defend.
Snijman and Jacques Rudolph shared an unbeaten second wicket stand of 82, with Snijman scoring his 10th limited overs half century, and Rudolph finishing on 42 not out.
It was Rudolph who finally brought the Lions' agony to an end with a straight drive that went for six. Rudolph has let it be known that he wants to get back into the national side, and the selectors may well take an interest in him as they seek an opening partner for Graeme Smith.