Markram inspires Titans to win against Lions
Imperial Lions 205/7
Multiply Titans 206/6
Titans won by four wickets
JOHANNESBURG – Aiden Markam turned what had been a bowlers day into comfortable victory for the visiting team, scoring his second century in a week in the Momentum One-Day Cup on Sunday.
Batsmen had struggled all day on a surface where the ball didn’t come onto the bat, and they were made to force the pace. The Lions batsmen didn’t come to terms with it until the last five overs of their innings, and it took Markram and the Titans batting line-up some time to come to terms with the lack of pace as well.
But Markram, who missed a big chunk of the season with a fractured finger, picked up while fielding in the Boxing Day Test, has given every indication that he is ready to resume duties in the green and gold with a pair of centuries in his first four matches for the Titans since returning from injury.
“Some balls really held in the wicket, and any bowler rolling his fingers over the ball, really got it to turn, “ Markram said later about the Wanderers pitch.
While his first hundred last Sunday came on a ‘road’ in Kimberley against the Knights, Markram had to work a lot harder here. The Titans found themselves in early trouble losing two wickets inside the first 10 overs, and when Dean Elgar departed at the start of the 12th over, they were 25/3 and desperately needed a partnership.
Markram admitted there were plenty of nerves in the Titans dressing room at that stage. “It’s almost nice in one sense, that when you are under the pump like that you can afford to take your time. Sometimes you just have to get yourself in on a wicket like that. It was a bit of a blessing in disguise, not that we had to go into our shells, but we really had to bat time. Runs weren’t really an issue, it was getting bowled out, so we only needed partnership to drag it out.”
Fortunately, the Titans’ captain Grant Thompson was able to provide Markram with support and the pair started putting the Lions bowlers under pressure by taking a few calculated risks, hitting the ball in the air, as they increased the scoring rate. The stand was worth 119 runs, and eased the nerves in the away dressing room.
Even in difficult conditions, Markram still produced some elegant stroke-play - with a few delicious cover drives the highlight of his innings.
He gradually increased his scoring as he came to terms with the nature of the pitch and brought up his hundred off the 108th ball of his innings. He was dismissed off the 109th, trying to finish the game quickly and slogging a short ball from Wihan Lubbe to Dominic Hendricks at deep mid-wicket following an innings that included 11 fours and a six.
Hendricks had top scored for the Lions with 45 in an innings in which all the batsmen struggled and the hosts needed a 49-run stand for the eighth wicket between Malusi Siboto (30*) and Bjorn Fortuin (18*) to lend their total some respectability.
The win lifts the Titans to 14 points, just one one point behind the Knights, who occupy fourth position on the log and five behind the Warriors, who beat the table topping Dolphins in East London on Sunday.
The Lions remain second but still need one more win to secure second place thereby confirming a home semifinal.