Farhaan Behardien scored 75 to help the Titans to the final. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

WSB Cape Cobras 187

Multiply Titans 188/5

Titans won by 5 wickets

Farhaan Behardien demonstrated once again what a coldly efficient limited overs ‘finisher’ he is as he guided the Titans out of a quagmire into the Momentum One-Day Cup final.

The Cape Cobras’s arch nemesis stuck it to them again on Wednesday night, after they had launched a furious fightback in defence of a mediocre target.

The 35 year old, arguably the best domestic finisher of the modern era, was quite superb, finishing on 75 not out (92b, 9x4). He and Corbin Bosch (45*, 65b, 4x4)) shared a partnership of 123 runs for the sixth wicket after the Titans had been reduced to 65/5 by Rory Kleinveldt and Vernon Philander after 15 overs.

Having watched both Tony de Zorzi and Aiden Markram be dismissed skying the ball to boundary fielders, Behardien made a deliberate effort to keep the ball on the ground, a tip he passed onto Bosch and they methodically set about their task, initially seeing off a pair of dangerous spells from Kleinveldt and Philander and then keeping the scoreboard ticking against the Cobras’ lesser bowlers.

There was good fortune for both along the way. Bosch should have been run out by Pieter Malan in the 17th over with the total on 75 when he set off for a sharp single that wasn’t on. Although the fielder had time to set himself, he missed the stumps. A second opportunity came at the start of the 22nd over when Behardien edged a delivery from Akhona Mnyaka between the wicket-keeper and JP Duminy standing at a side slip. The total at that stage was 96 and with Kleinveldt and Philander still having six overs to bowl between them, it was certainly a major turning point in the run chase.

Duminy may feel he should have utilised both a bit longer but turned to his left-arm spinner Tsepo Ndwandwa and while he didn’t bowl badly, there was a noticeable release of pressure with Behardien and Bosch picking up easy singles.

The Titans should never have faced as tense a situation however. They had bowled superbly to dismiss the Cobras for 187, with Dale Steyn and Junior Dala showing all their class and experience.

Titans skipper Dean Elgar had talked before the game of how the homeside were grateful to be able to call upon the pair, who had represented the national team last week. Steyn was a class apart; shaping the ball beautifully away from the right hander, he picked up two wickets in game’s first over to put the Cobras under pressure immediately. Only Kyle Verreynne managed to keep the Titans at bay, scoring 65 (90b, 5x4).

Dala made outstanding use of the short ball, brutalising the Cobras batsmen and finishing with career best figures of 6/19 in 8.3 overs. Steyn, picked up 3/20 in 10 overs.

The Titans will now await the winner of Thursday’s semi-final between the Dolphins and Warriors in Durban.

The final will be played here on Sunday.   

@shockerhess


IOL Sport

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