Centurion - A half-century from skipper Henry Davids helped the Titans narrow the gap in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge standings, bagging a seven-run victory over log leaders the Highveld Lions here at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.
Set a formidable target of 178, the Lions got their chase off to a solid start with the opening pair of Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma racing to 41 from the first five overs, before Albie Morkel turned the innings on its head with two wickets from his first two deliveries.
Morkel first dismissed Bavuma for 17, before sending Alviro Petersen back to the lockers for a first-ball duck, putting the Titans in control in the sixth over.
VIDEO: Titans v Lions, highlights
Neil McKenzie was the next man in and helped get the Lions' pursuit back on track, partnering with De Kock to guide the Johannesburg outfit past the halfway mark of their target.
The pair put on 80 runs for the third wicket before De Kock was dismissed for a superb 73 off 40 balls by Morkel, who picked up his third wicket, before the Lions had their momentum snatched away off the very next delivery, when Davids ran out McKenzie for a solid 29.
The visitors were forced to recover from a double blow for the second time in their innings, and had Sohail Tanveer and Chris Morris to thank for bringing them within touching distance of their target.
The duo worked well for a partnership of 47, before Morris departed for 18 off the first delivery of the last over, with the Lions needing 11 runs to win.
Alfonso Thomas showed his class after taking up the responsibility of completing the final over, dismissing Morris and then Dwaine Pretorius with the second-last ball of the innings, to wrap up the win.
Earlier, a shaky start for the Titans saw opening batsman Jacques Rudolph depart cheaply for six, before Roelof van der Merwe and Davids steadied the innings, combining for a third-wicket partnership of 62 off 38 deliveries.
The pair were looking in commanding form, before Van der Merwe went the aerial route, finding Bavuma in the deep from an Aaron Phangiso delivery.
The dismissal brought Martin van Jaarsveld to the crease and Davids again combined well for a quick 24 off 13 balls, before the opener mistimed a Phangiso delivery and was caught by Jean Symes in the outfield.
Former New Zealand international Scott Styris was next out to the middle, putting on 25 from 20 deliveries with Van Jaarsveld, before the latter was removed by Hardus Viljoen for 24.
The Titans continued to pile on the runs, courtesy of a 57-run fifth wicket partnership between Styris and Morkel, with Morkel adding an unbeaten 40-run quickfire contribution.
Henry Davids (captain), Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati, Albie Morkel, Mangaliso Mosehle, Jacques Rudolph, Scott Styris, Alfonso Thomas, Roelof van der Merwe, Martin van Jaarsveld, David Wiese
Alviro Petersen (captain), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Neil McKenzie, Aaron Phangiso, Dwaine Pretorius, Sohail Tanveer, Jean Symes, Hardus Viljoen, Chris Morris