Cape Town - Nicky van den Bergh struck an unbeaten half-century that put the Highveld Lions on top before late wickets saw them surrender the advantage to the Titans on day one of their Sunfoil Series derby at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Thursday.
The right-hander was not out on 70 (154 balls, 6 fours) at stumps, but watched from the other end as five wickets fell in the final 12 overs, including the other half-centurion Devon Conway (66 off 146 balls, 7 fours), leaving the visitors on 265/8 at the end.
Malusi Siboto was the pick of the bowlers for the home side with his 3/30 in 17 outstanding overs, but it was only until late in the day that the reigning champions managed to seize the initiative.
The Titans, who are leading the log standings by less than a point from the Dolphins, won the toss at the start and opted to bowl first against a Lions side they lead by just over 10 points on the table.
Rassie van der Dussen (17) fell early to fit again Proteas allrounder Chris Morris (2/55), but Reeza Hendricks (47) and Dominic Hendricks (39) put on 79 for the second wicket only to both fall in quick succession to the spin of another national player in Tabraiz Shamsi (2/87).
Van den Bergh and Conway then added a key 128 for the fourth wicket that put the Lions in total control on 238/3.
But Siboto then weaved his magic and was at the heart of a collapse that saw the visitors lose 5/27, leaving the hosts in the driving seat.