Knights beat Titans to qualify for MODC semis
Multiply Titans 138
VKB Knights 141/7
Knights won by 3 wickets
PRETORIA – You’d have been forgiven for thinking you were watching a certain Australia leg-spinner had you turned up on Sunday morning at SuperSport Park.
All that was missing was the long blonde hair. Everything else; big spinning leg-breaks, googleys, sliders, brilliant control of line and length, clever field placements were all on show. Except the bloke bowling was named Shaun not Shane. It proved all too much for his former teammates at the Titans however.
The Titans saw the very best of Shaun von Berg in the most crucial league game of the Momentum One-Day Cup, as he produced a spell of the highest quality against a batting line-up featuring four batsmen with international experience.
The toss was won by Knights captain Wandile Makwetu, who chose to field, but who then lost paceman Ottniel Baartman after just one ball to injury. That forced a change to the bowling plans, one of which was using Von Berg inside the first 10 overs. That would most likely not have been the case with a fully functioning attack, but Von Berg turned Baartman’s misfortune to his and the Knights’ benefit.
Left-arm seamer Mbulelo Budaza, who bowled well to pick up 3/26, had dismissed the in-form Aiden Markram in the seventh over. A brief partnership of 29 between Tony de Zorzi and Theunis de Bruyn - brought into the side ahead of skipper Grant Thompson - got the Titans to 58/1 after 13 overs, following which Von Berg got into his work.
A ripping leg-break spun passed De Bruyn, who had charged down the wicket, offering Makwetu an easy stumping, and then off the next ball, the Titans captain for the day, Dean Elgar, got a leading edge trying to turn one onto the leg-side, but offered Von Berg a comfortable return catch.
The skinny left-arm seamer Marco Jansen, then produced a clever slower ball to trap Rivaldo Moonsamy lbw for 5. Budaza claimed the crucial wicket of Farhaan Behardien, likely playing his last one-day game for the Titans at SuperSport Park before he heads to Durham on a Kolpak contract, for nine.
De Zorzi’s 61 off 72 balls, was the lone innings of substance for the hosts and included seven fours, but he got no help from anyone else, and after he was out, caught by the wicket-keeper Makwetu, gloving an attempted pull off Jansen, after which Von Berg returned to wrap up the tail.
The 33 year old leg-spinner’s finished with 5/33 in 8.5 overs, his first ‘five-for’ in the limited overs format.
Andries Gous (25) and the hard-hitting Jacques Snyman (35) knocked the stuffing out of the chase in the first 10 overs with an opening stand 59. However the remaining Knights batsmen played very poorly - the defensive attitudes of Keegan Petersen, Rynardt van Tonder and Patrick Kruger, could have proved costly had the Titans scored another 20 runs.
Victory meant the Knights finished fourth and will head to Durban to face the Dolphins in the first semi-final on Tuesday. The Lions will host the Warriors at the Wanderers on Wednesday.