Roelof clinches Titans victory
Roelof van der Merwe produced the best all-round performance of his career to put the Nashua Titans one up against the bizhub Highveld Lions in the first leg semifinal of the MTN40 at SuperSport Park on Friday night.
The match was a superb advert for the 40 overs format with 600 runs being scored as the Titans won by 3 wickets with 8 balls to spare.
The Lions held a very strong hand when they scored 299/8 in their 40 overs on the back of a superb innings of 130 off 108 balls (13 fours and 3 sixes) from opening batsman Jonathan Vandiar. It was the third century of his List A career.
They then had the Titans in a lot of trouble at 30/2 in the opening 10 overs power play with Ethan O’Reilly taking 2/17 in his opening spell of 6 overs.
But Van der Merwe, who had earlier taken an excellent 2/40 in 8 overs in the Lions’ innings, then turned the match on its head with his innings of 93 off 51 balls. He richly deserved to score a century but it was not to be. He nevertheless put the Titans right back in the match hitting more sixes than fours (7 sixes and 5 fours).
The Titans needed 100 off the last 70 balls which proved well within the capabilities of their lower order big hitters such as Albie Morkel and David Wiese. It was the latter who finished it off, hitting 29 off 12 balls (3 fours and 2 sixes). His onslaught meant that the Titans needed only 5 runs off the last 2 overs and they got home quite comfortably in the end.
Van der Merwe’s onslaught would not have been possible without the support of the in-form Faf du Plessis who scored 61 off 62 balls (5 fours and 1 six) and laid the foundation of the innings. He had earlier taken 3/55 in 7 overs for an excellent all-round performance.
The second leg takes place at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday.
The Nashua Dolphins play their semi-final first leg against the Chevrolet Knights at the OUTsurance Oval on Sunday (11am start).