Johannesburg - Henry Davids and Roelof van der Merwe were the stars as the Titans beat the Knights by five runs in a pulsating One-Day Cup match at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Wednesday evening.
It was Davids’ 166, the highest innings by a Titans batsman, and Van der Merwe’s outstanding 5/40 which paved the way for the Titans’ victory.
The Knights put up a terrific fight, but ultimately not having a batsman to build their innings around and losing wickets at important times cost them the game.
The Knights’ chase of 323 started robustly with Michael Erlank and Rudi Second posting 66 at just more than a run a ball before Albie Morkel dismissed Erlank for 33.
Second was next to go 30 runs later, skittled by Van der Merwe, for 36 while Rilee Rossouw attacked the Titans bowling.
Rossouw had 49 from 38 balls before his crucial wicket was claimed by left armer Rowan Richards.
Obus Pienaar, playing second fiddle to Rossouw, was next out for 29 with the Knights on 158 in the 27th over.
Ryan Bailey and Werner Coetsee then formed a promising alliance of 95 at a run a ball, to keep the game in the balance until the intervention once more of Van der Merwe.
The slow left armer first trapped Bailey in front for 43, then bowled veteran danger man Nicky Boje next ball.
Coetsee kept the Knights interested with his attacking 69 before running himself out going for two.
Wickets kept falling and although Dillon du Preez got the Knights close in the final over with two boundaries, Malusi Siboto’s run out off a wide with six needed off two balls, ensured the Titans just managed to hold on for victory.
Earlier, the Titans won the toss and elected to bat.
Davids and Heino Kuhn put on 149 for the first wicket to lay the platform for the Titans’ total of 322/8.
Kuhn led the way while Davids was slightly more circumspect as they went at around a run a ball as they accumulated 149 between them.
The Knights looked helpless with the ball until a mix-up between Davids and Kuhn led to the Titans’ wicketkeeper’s dismissal for a well played 72.
Mangaliso Mosehle holed out for two at cow corner, before Titans captain Martin van Jaarsveld provided solidity, while Davids upped his scoring rate.
Their partnership of 66 was broken in the 38th over with the score at 221, though the scoring did not slow as Farhaan Behardien played a brisk innings of 23 before being caught off Du Preez's bowling.
From that point the Titans lost wickets at regular intervals, but with Davids still at the crease the runs kept coming until he was finally dismissed in the 47th over but by then the damage had been done.
For the Knights, Du Preez took 4/66, but skipper Johan van der Wath and Coetsee were the best of the home side’s bowlers, going at less than six an over. - Sapa