Cape Town - A career-best and franchise record six for 19 by Junior Dala paved the way for the Titans to secure their place in Sunday’s One-Day Cup final after a gripping five-wicket win over the Cape Cobras in Centurion on Wednesday.
The Proteas seamer broke the previous record of five for 26 taken by Roelof van der Merwe against the Knights at the same SuperSport Park back in 2012/13 as his haul helped bowl out the visitors for 187.
Dale Steyn also played a pivotal role with three for 20 that rocked the Cobras early as they were dismissed in 47.3 overs.
An unbeaten 75 off 92 balls (9 fours) by Farhaan Behardien then steadied the Titans ship following a rocky start and guided them to their target with 65 deliveries remaining.
It completed another excellent showing by Mark Boucher’s men, who will now meet either the Dolphins or the Warriors for the 2018/19 title.
The regular-season winners dominated almost entirely from start to finish – bar a small window in between when Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt got the new ball to talk.
The home side won the toss and bowled first with veteran Steyn rocking the Cape side with two wickets, those of Janneman Malan and Zubayr Hamza for ducks, in two first-over deliveries to leave them on nought for two.
Dala then got to work as the Cobras continued to slide until they reached 52 for five by the end of the 18th over.
Kyle Verreynne and Vernon Philander (36) then did some repair work with a 75-run sixth-wicket stand that gave the Cobras some hope.
A further 43 between top-scorer Verreynne, who struck a mature 65 off 98 balls (5 fours), and Kleinveldt (32) raised more hope of a respectable score, but both then fell in quick succession.
It left the tail exposed to the impressive Dala and he pounced for best-ever figures that trumped his maiden career five-for, five for 32, against the Dolphins earlier in the campaign.
It was then then turn of the away bowlers to shine as Kleinveldt (3/49) and Philander (2/35) threatened an upset.
Their early strikes left the home fans worried after their side slipped to 14 for two and then 65 for five.
But Behardien did what Behardien does best by finishing the job his team-mates could not.
After initially consolidating, he went on to bat right through the innings thanks to excellent support from Corbin Bosch at the other end – the latter ending on 45 off 65 balls.
Their partnership in the end was worth 123 and their side won with 10.5 overs to spare.