Knights: 133/7 (Miller 43, Mokoena 31, Steyn 2/20, Shamsi 2/21)
Titans: 139/5 (Behardien 56*, Morkel 27, Swanepoel 2/20)
Titans won by 5 wickets
Cricket South Africa may have set certain guidelines to how many balls Dale Steyn needs to deliver before he can return to the Proteas Test side, but the people of Port Elizabeth can expect to see “The Phalaborwa Express” back in their city in a couple of weeks time for the inaugural Boxing Day four-day floodlit Test after his performance at St George’s Park on Sunday.
The 34-year-old bowled with plenty of purpose, good pace and looked to swing the new ball upfront like the Steyn of old which helped the Titans maintain their unbeaten record in this season’s RamSlam T20 Challenge.
Despite having to be content with a slowish surface, the “fond memories” of charging in from the Park Drive End to claim his best-ever figures in T20 international cricket almost exactly a decade ago against the West Indies on a fiery night at St George’s, certainly ignited a flame within Steyn as he showed his finest form yet in the competition.
It was too good for Knights openers Rudi Second and Keegan Petersen with Steyn accounting for both them in his first over to leave the central franchise reeling at 8/2. Although David Miller (43 off 34 balls) and Grant Mokoena (31 off 28 balls) attempted a recovery after Steyn’s initial burst, the end total of 133/7 was always going to be tough to defend.
“I like bowling from the top-end there. I have bowled well with the white ball from that end in the past. Albie (Morkel) asked me what end do I want, and I immediately said I want that end. There are fond memories bowling from that end,” Steyn exclaimed.
“It is just gametime. I am doing my training in Cape Town in between, and otherwise I am travelling with the Titans. It has been good to be back on the park.”
The Titans have been near impossible to stop in this season’s RamSlam, but there were times during the run-chase that the runaway train might come to a screeching halt.
In the absence of the rested AB de Villiers the Titans top-order failed for the first time, and the Knights bowlers and fielders rallied well enough to bring the equation down to 21 runs required off the final 12 balls for victory.
However, a complete meltdown from Proteas Test seamer Duanne Olivier, who delivered four wides and got smashed for six off the final ball of the penultimate over, ended the match as a contest.
The Titans’ depth and quality in their squad is certainly superior to the rest of their competitors as they had Proteas Farhaan Behardien and Chris Morris at the crease to complete the job.
Behardien played another cool hand with an unbeaten 56 off 39 balls – he is yet to be dismissed in the entire RamSlam – while Morris found his groove the longer he was at the crease as he finished the game off with mighty six all the way into the adjacent road.
Morris, who is another making his comeback from injury, progress could though halt Steyn’s bid for more games as the Titans juggernaut juggle their riches.
“I will possibly play the next game in Cape Town,” Steyn explained. “We will see where we at that from that point. Morne Morkel needs to play and we have guys like Chris Morris that we need to get in.
“We have to get everyone a chance to play leading up to that semis and finals. Everybody wants to be hitting their straps.
“I want to be on the park, but I also know that everyone needs to get a chance because if they called upon then they can step up. We will take it from there.”