Johannesburg – The Titans held their nerve to defend a low total and beat the Brisbane Heat by four runs in their second Group B match in the Champions League T20 cricket tournament at Mohali on Tuesday.
The Titans, after being sent into bat under conditions that were ideal for both seam and swing bowling following heavy rain that delayed the start of play, looked to be well short of par when they were dismissed for 123 inside the 19th over.
Henry Davids and Heino Kuhn had got them through the most difficult period, with a second-wicket partnership of 69 in less than nine overs.
However, they contrived to lose their last nine wickets for only 53 runs.
If undisciplined bowling cost them their opening match against the Chennai Super Kings, it was bad running between the wickets – and some poor shot selection – that nearly undid them this time.
Their two in-form batsmen, Davids (39 off 31 balls) and AB de Villiers (28 off 19 balls), were both dismissed in this manner and this brought their momentum to a halt at a stage where they looked well on track for a total in excess of 150.
Their pace bowlers, revelling in the conditions that must have made them feel they were playing at home, responded to the challenge.
Man of the Match Marchant de Lange took 3/13 and Rowan Richards 2/20.
Morne Morkel bowled a lot better than his figures of 1/26 indicate.
De Lange and Morkel took charge of the last two overs when their opponents needed a gettable 20 for victory and then needed 10 off De Lange's final six balls.
In a repeat of his performance that won the Proteas Blue Label Telecoms squad an important victory in New Zealand two years ago, the Limpopo speedster was well up to the task and finished the game decisively with a perfect Yorker.
De Lange bowled as close to 150km/h as anybody has managed in this tournament to date and, provided he can stay free from injury, he must be right back in the frame for Proteas selection in both limited overs formats.
His combination of raw pace and accuracy certainly gives the Proteas another “death” bowling option.
The Titans are now in third place. The narrow margin of their victory meant their net run rate was still in negative territory, but they are right back in the race for semi-final qualification. – Sapa