AB de Villiers played some dashing strokes in his innings of 48, which included four sixes. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

BENONI – There were no signs of any rain-induced rustiness as the Titans produced another awesome display of batting power to all but secure a home semi-final in this season’s RamSlam by beating the Warriors by 56 runs on Friday night.

It had been 11 days since they’d last played, but there were no signs – from the batting unit at least – that the Titans’ rhythm had been upset by the time off brought about by their last two matches being rained off.

Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers and Farhaan Behardien slotted straight back into form as they overwhelmed the Warriors in a match that had to be shortened after persistent drizzle delayed the start of the match by 90 minutes.

In their allotted 13 overs, the Titans scored 172/3 at a rate of 13.23 an over, and smashed 11 fours and a prodigious 13 sixes on the way to their fourth bonus-point win.

Elgar started the fireworks, seemingly intent to show his many detractors that he should not be boxed as a Test player.

Elgar unleashed some spectacular drives down the ground, and his pull shot, one of the better strokes in his arsenal, saw the ball sailing over the boundary.

As a result the Titans were off to a rapid start, scoring at 10 runs an over in the reduced four-over powerplay period.

Elgar scored 44 off only 23 balls hitting four fours and three sixes, and when he was dismissed in the sixth over, De Villiers took up the charge, treating an enthusiastic crowd to an array of his many party tricks.

He lashed a flat six over extra cover to start the eighth over and followed that up with a hard sweep over the fine leg fence off Jon-Jon Smuts.

De Villiers scored 48 off only 19 balls, striking four fours and four sixes.

As has become the norm, Behardien applied the finishing touches, hitting 36 off only 12 balls, with four sixes.

Against as varied an attack as the Titans have, the Warriors were always going to struggle.

Smuts started well, taking advantage against an understandably off-colour Chris Morris (playing his first match since the third Test against England at The Oval in July).

Smuts, who has been out of touch for most of this season’s RamSlam, swung hard and helped himself to a half-century – he was dropped by De Villiers on 43 – but sadly for him and his team, there was no help from the rest of the batting line-up as they ended on 116/9 in their 13 overs.

Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen had numerous options at his disposal with the ball, and on Friday it was left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi who came to the fore, picking up three wickets in his final over to turn the match decisively the home team’s way.

He finished with figures of 3/22, while Lungi Ngidi claimed 2/8.

With Friday’s other matches rained out, the Titans stretched their lead atop the log to 14 points.

They head to Port Elizabeth on Sunday, where they play the first match of a double header at St George’s Park against the Knights.


IOL Sport