CAPE TOWN – Can South Africa really afford to leave Aiden Markram at home when the World Cup squad is announced next month?
On the basis of the right-hander’s dashing 169 from 129 balls (15x4, 7x6) that powered the Titans to a crushing 83-run victory over the Cape Cobras on Friday evening, it could prove to be foolish.
Markram, batting in the unfamiliar position of No 5, was sublime at Newlands, bludgeoning the white ball to all parts of the picturesque ground during a List A world record 272-run sixth-wicket partnership with Farhaan Behardien (111 not out off 100 balls).
The partnership set up the Titans’ 320/6.
Markram’s innings had even greater gravitas, for he started his stay at the crease with the Titans reeling at 31/5.
At that stage the Cobras were bossing the game, with Rory Kleinveldt, in particular, turning back the clock to deliver a masterclass in seam bowling.
Kleinveldt, charging in from the Wynberg End, was virtually unplayable during a brilliant opening spell, after which his figures read: 7-4-7-3.
But that was unfortunately as good as it got for the locals on the night, for it was one-way traffic from that point.
Markram was particularly strong off the front foot, driving straight down the ground and square of the wicket with great ferocity.
He was, though, quick to pounce on the short ball too, peppering the Railway Stand with a couple of meaty sixes.
Behardien, as his wont, played second fiddle for the majority of the partnership, but his role cannot be underestimated.
He nudged, nurdled and ran hard to ensure Markram wasn’t starved of the bowling when he was in full flow, but also did not allow the Cobras change bowlers to find their rhythm with timely boundaries.
But still, the show belonged to Markram. The 24-year-old required just 36 balls to move from 50 to 100, and only 18 deliveries to get to 150 during a royal period that only ended when he eventually holed out in the final over.
With the momentum firmly in the Titans’ favour at the interval, the Cobras needed a couple of their senior batsmen to lay the foundation for the chase.
Unfortunately, both Proteas, Hashim Amla (10) and JP Duminy (0) – upon his return to cricket after his shoulder injury – failed dismally.
That left too much for the young brigade, as although Janneman Malan (71) and stand-in wicket-keeper David Bedingham (50) both struck brisk half-centuries, they needed more substantial contributions.
Even a rapid 41 from Kleinveldt at the back-end, to complete a good day for the burly all-rounder, could not stop the Titans from completing a comprehensive victory.@ZaahierAdams