Titans delay celebrations

2011-04-02 22:35

Benoni - There was still a slim chance that the Titans could edge out the Cobras at the top of the table when stumps were drawn on day three of the SuperSport Series match between the Titans and the Knights at Willowmoore Park on Saturday.

The Cobras beat the Warriors by seven wickets, inside of three days, in their final game in Paarl which kept them in the number one spot on the championship log.

However, an outright win by the Titans over the Knights would deprive the Capetonians of a second successive title - by a fraction of a point.

A rain delay of over two hours frustrated the Titans as the groundsmen and umpires did their utmost to get the players back on the field after tea.

They only managed to bowl a further 10 balls before bad light stopped play for the day, with the Knights at 116/5 in their second innings and holding a lead of 222 runs.

The Titans resumed their first innings on 197/5 in the morning, with Jacques Rudolph at the crease on 100 and Mangaliso Mosehle on seven.

Mosehle added another five runs before he was dismissed but the talented Rudolph went on to share a valuable 71-run stand with Shaun von Berg (40) and a partnership of 78 runs with GC Viljoen (34) to ensure his team reached their target of 342 runs in 100 overs to gain the necessary bonus points to jump above the Cobras, should they win the match.

A wicket fell on the last ball before lunch and, as it was also the completion of the 100th over, the Titans declared at 364/9 with Rudolph on a superb 181 not out.

The Titans skipper faced 297 balls and hit 24 fours and four sixes. It was his highest score and fourth hundred of the season and the 42nd first-class century of his career.

His declaration proved a wise decision as early wickets tumbled in the Knights' second innings.

Ethy Mbhalati snatched two quick scalps in his first spell, dismissing Reeza Hendricks (four), who was caught at square-leg by Shaun von Berg, and Dean Elgar (three), caught behind by Mosehle who was wearing the gloves after Heino Kuhn injured a finger.

Machant de Lange jumped on the bandwagon, bowling Rilee Rossouw for a duck.

With the Knights reeling at 7/3, the Titans were full of hope but Ryan Bailey and double-centurion in the first innings, Obus Pienaar, went about restoring the innings and put on 101 runs together, off 128 balls, including 13 fours and a six.

De Lange struck again when he had Pienaar (67) caught in the covers by Pieter Malan. Bailey (35) followed shortly afterwards, clean bowled by Gino Vries.

The McLaren cousins, Adrian and Ryan were at the crease when the covers came on but the Titans will hope the Knights make an early declaration on the final day so they can knock off the deficit to win the trophy for the second time in three years.