Benoni - The Titans guaranteed themselves at least a
play-off place in the One-Day Cup as they held their nerve at the death to beat
the Highveld Lions by 12 runs in a tense, rain-affected affair at Willowmoore
The Titans posted a healthy 255 for nine in their 50 overs
after being inserted by the Lions, and then managed to defend 149 when the
Lions chase was cut to 20 overs by the weather.
The Lions finished up on 136 for eight after Alviro
Petersen’s 48 had kept them in the game.
The Titans now have a three-point lead over the third-placed
Dolphins, and a six-point lead over the Lions and the Knights, both of whom
have just one game remaining.
With the Cobras eight points ahead of the Titans, it now
appears that the Titans and Dolphins will be scrapping to see who grabs hosting
rights for the play-off.
The Titans’ knock was based around Jacques Rudolph’s 77 at
the top of the order and Qaasim Adams’ run-a-ball 59 lower down, while Matt
McGillivray and Bjorn Fortuin each took three wickets in a relatively
inexperienced Lions attack.
The Lions reply was disrupted by rain in just the second
over and they were forced to switch into Twenty20 mode quickly as a result.
However, they lost Stephen Cook, Rassie van der Dussen and
Temba Bavuma in the space of 15 deliveries, and when Neil McKenzie was caught
and bowled by Grant Thomson, the pressure was on Petersen.
He responded by stroking three sixes and two fours in his
36-ball innings, before hitting Graeme van Buuren’s full toss to Juan de
The Lions were still in the game going into the final four
overs needing 44, but Thami Tsolekile fell in the power play to leave the lower
order with too much to do.
After employing a short-ball strategy with mixed results, the
Titans attack reverted to yorkers in the final two overs to good effect, as
Ethy Mbhalati and then Thomson held their nerve.