JOHANNESBURG - Tony de Zorzi’s maiden T20 century gave the Titans the perfect start in the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ Abu Dhabi T20 tournament on Friday night as South Africa’s domestic T20 champions comfortably won their opening game.
De Zorzi, a former South African under-19 captain, smashed a magnificent 106* off only 57 balls as the Titans over came the Boost Defenders, an outfit out of the Afghanistan T20 League, that consists of a mix of players from South Africa (they were captained by Colin Ingram), England, Sri Lanka, Australia and Afghanistan.
The 21 year old left hander displayed terrific power and skill to firmly underline the faith shown in him by Titans coach Mark Boucher. Before the start of the domestic season, Boucher specifically called out De Zorzi, saying he’d made big strides towards the back end of last season and that following some solid performances for an SA Emerging side in Sri Lanka in the winter he was “expecting big things” from the opener.
While the quality of bowling from the Defenders, was certainly not up to what De Zorzi might even face in South African domestic cricket – even Kyle Abbott struggled – there was still a job that needed to be done and De Zorzi did that job very well. The Defenders’ fielding also left a lot to be desired.
De Zorzi’s unbeaten 106 came off just 57 balls and as he kept up the pressure at one end so his teammates were able to keep slogging away at the other end, with Chris Morris putting the icing on the Titans cake at the end, smashing 46 off just 14 balls. I
Ingram, very much a T20 ‘gun-for-hire’ these days, had scored 89 for the Defenders in their victory Thursday against the Auckland Aces, and while he was at the crease, the Titans’ target, though large was gettable. But the left-hander had no support from his teammates and his 51, off 26 balls, proved to be in vain.
The @Titans_Cricket have excelled at their debut match in the #AbuDhabiT20! The Sky Blues soared high with their epic score of 218/3 against the @DefendersBoost . What a win! pic.twitter.com/KQcqnPNJJm
Leg-spinner Shaun von Berg picked up 3/23 in four overs, while Tshepo Moreki, playing his first match for the Titans and Eldred Hawken claimed two wickets apiece. The Titans need to win their final group game on Saturday to qualify for the final, which will take place later on Saturday night.