Centurion – The Titans defeated the Knights by 81 runs after a see-saw affair in their One-day Cup match at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
Heino Kuhn led the way as the Titans started well with the bat, making his fourth one-day hundred before their middle and lower order capitulated to give the Knights a reachable target of 286 runs to win.
However, Titans part-timer Henry Davids proved an unexpected hero with the ball, as he recorded his best one-day figures of 4/45, before Roelof van der Merwe gutted the rest of the Knights' batting line-up with a return of 5/26.
The Knights' chase started well as Rilee Rossouw and Reeza Hendricks feasted on some indifferent bowling to reach 87/1 after 10 overs, and to compound the Titans' problems, opening bowler Ethy Mbalathi left the field three balls into his first over due to injury.
Titans captain Martin van Jaarsveld turned to Davids and he immediately had Rossouw caught for 43, halting the Knights' swift progress.
Davids was then on a hat-trick as both Knights skipper Dean Elgar and Obus Pienaar departed to poor strokes, throwing the game back into the balance.
The Titans and Knights continued to jostle for the initiative until Nicky Boje and Ryan McLaren's dismissals left the visitors in a hole.
Van der Merwe got the key wicket of Hendricks, the only Knights batsman to offer sustained resistance, for a well-played 59, placing the Free Staters on the path of defeat.
The Titans eventually wrapped up the innings, dismissing the Knights for 204 to take a comfortable victory.
Earlier, the home side, after being put in to bat, looked set for a big total before a late innings collapse saw them lose seven wickets for 16 runs.
Their innings was driven by Kuhn's ton. He was ably supported by Mangilso Mosehle with a sprightly 69, his highest one-day score, and 64 by Van Jaarsveld.
The three batsmen shared consecutive century partnerships. Kuhn and Mosehle combined for 127 runs, immediately followed by a 121-run stand between Kuhn and Van Jaarsveld, who was dropped on 11.
However, their excellent position was squandered after Kuhn fell for 107, with the Titans on 258 in the 43rd over.
The collapse gathered steam as Van Jaarsveld perished, with wickets tumbling consistently afterwards.
The Titans' cause was not helped by middle-order batsman Farhaan Behardien coming in at number nine, reportedly due to a stomach ailment, as the Titans made only 48 runs in the final 10 overs. – Sapa