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Titans win Momentum One-Day Cup

Domestic Cricket

Multiply Titans 425/5

Warriors 189 all out

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Aiden Markram of the Titans during the 2017 Momentum One Day Cup match between The Multiply Titans and Warriors at Supersport Park. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Titans won by 236 runs


SuperSport Park – Who needs AB de Villiers anyway?

Not the Titans, not in this season’s Momentum One-Day Cup where they’ve scored 400 or more three times – extending their own record here on Friday night in the final.

With Henry Davids, the tournament’s leading run-scorer this season, and Aiden Markram, the next big batting star of South African cricket, and Heinrich Klaasen, a hell of a back-up wicket-keeper to Quinton de Kock in their line-up – who needs AB de Villiers? Not the Titans.

This was a proper spanking, not something a hardworking team like the Warriors deserved, but then there is little that can stop the Titans when their batting clicks in the manner it did on Friday. Imagine AB de… let’s rather not. He missed this final with a back ailment.

Rather it’s worth celebrating the contributions of Davids and Markram in particular, the former returning to the side after missing the last two league matches with hamstring injuries. He looked scratchy early – understandably – but then whacked a four down the ground off an out of touch Sisanda Magala in the fourth over, and he was on his way. Two more boundaries followed in that over – both clipped elegantly through the leg-side, and thus having found his rhythm, Davids produced a dreamy effort on this marquee occasion. It was in keeping with some superb form he found at the start of the competition – after, by his own admission, a frustrating Sunfoil Series campaign.

His third century of the 2016/17 competition pushed him passed the Warriors skipper JJ Smuts, to finish as the top run-scorer with an aggregate of 673 runs which at an average of 84.12.

His 114 in the final was scored off 98 balls and included 13 fours and four sixes and normally would have been the outstanding batting effort, except on Friday, at the other end his opening partner produced a ‘statement’ innings that will ramp up the chatter about his selection for the highest level.

The convener of the national selection panel, Linda Zondi, got to witness first-hand what all the fuss is about as Markram, who’d initially been happy to play second fiddle to the domineering Davids, unfurled the full array of his burgeoning talent. Markram admitted in the week that the talk about a national call-up had scared him once, but there is no reason to be skittish when he plays in the manner he did here.

He paced his innings very well, his shot selection was out of the top drawer and his shotmaking was precise, pleasing to the eye and powerful. He had a couple of slices of good fortune too – there was one terrible miss from Lesiba Ngoepe on the long-on boundary when Markram had 62 and a second, slightly harder chance by the same fielder when Markram was on 141.

However he took advantage of those opportunities producing a second ‘big’ hundred this season to back up the national domestic record – 183 – he set against the Lions at the Wanderers two weeks ago. Some of the shots were breathtaking and not just the ones deposited into the grandstand, but also a couple that mixed flamboyance and technique and scorched the outfield as the ball raced to the boundary. It required just 123 balls for the 22 year old to score 161, hitting 11 fours and seven sixes and the standing ovation as he left the field at the end of the innings was richly deserved.

Together Davids and Markram notched up 212 for the opening partnership in 29.3 overs, setting the perfect base for the ultimately record breaking effort.

There was a late wobble when it looked like they may miss out on getting to 400, but Morris lashed 47 off only 12 balls (1x4, 6x6) as the Titans surpassed the previous mark of 415 they made against the Lions.

The Warriors, put up a brave fight in pursuit of 426, and although they were ahead of where the Titans had been over the course of the first 20 overs of their innings, the regular loss of wickets curtailed their efforts.

Victory saw the Titans pick up their second trophy of the season – after they won the T20 Challenge in December – and given that they were narrow runners-up to the Knights in the Sunfoil Series there is little doubting their status as South Africa’s best domestic side.

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