JOHANNESBURG – Two years to the day that he scored 161 in the final to help the Titans win this very same competition, Aiden Markram was back at it again yesterday.
In front of the national selection convenor Linda Zondi, Markram produced yet another sparkling century.
It was his third century this season, his fifth all time, and it was deflating experience for the Dolphins, who were also left fuming by a some crucial umpiring mistakes that mostly went against them.
The Titans have used him to open, bat at No 5 and esterday at No 4, and he’s made hundreds each time. The versatility that Faf du Plessis and Ottis Gibson have talked about has certainly been on display, but whether Zondi will feel it’s good enough to book a spot among the 15 for the World Cup, only time will tell.
All Markram can do is play in the manner he did in the final. It was supreme batting and it sucked all the enthusiasm out of the Dolphins.
The visitors will argue that they could and maybe should have had at least one wicket inside the first PowerPlay. Theunis de Bruyn, who went on to score 72, looked pretty close to plumb lbw in the second over against Daryn Dupavillon, but umpire Shaun George, turned down a vociferous appeal.
Keshav Maharaj had another against Tony de Zorzi in the ninth over, this time Adrian Holdstock turned the Dolphins down. Worse was to come for them when they batted.
The wheels fell off after the 30th over. In fact a major turning point arrived in the 36th when Markram attempted a single that was never on, but substitute fielder Marques Ackerman missed the stumps. Markram had 39 at the time.
About an hour later he was out for 127 (88b, 5x4, 8x6), the course of the innings and match had turned. De Bruyn’s 72 was vital, but Dean Elgar deserves plenty of praise for accelerating the innings at a crucial stage while scoring 58 off just 42 balls. Khaya Zondo will regret gifting him his first 10 runs with the field set back against the spinners, but the Titans skipper was good enough to take advantage hitting four fours and two sixes in his innings.
Then Markram took over, producing shots all around the wicket, mixing style and power in the process.
They certainly didn’t need the help of the officials but they got some anyway with Zondo feeling he had inside edged the ball when given out lbw by George.
Andile Phehlukwayo certainly hit the cover off it against Steyn and was understandably livid when Holdtsock raised his right index finger. That error came at a crucial stage too with Phehlukwayo, who scored 43 and Dane Vilas who made 59, having shared a 92-run fifth wicket partnership, that was keeping the visitors well within reach of the required scoring rate.
Multiply Titans 356/5
HollywoodBets Dolphins 221
Titans won by 135 runs@shockerhess