Titans beat KZN-Inland to qualify for T20 Knock Out playoffs
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JOHANNESBURG - Donovan Ferreira’s big hitting in the penultimate over of the Titans innings proved to be the difference as Northerns claimed what was ultimately a comfortable win against the Tuskers to ensure qualification for the play-offs in Cricket SA’s T20 Knock Out competition on Thursday.
Ferreira smashed two sixes and a four, while Aya Gqamane also helped himself to a boundary as the Titans took 22 runs off the 19th over bowled by left-arm medium pacer Thula Ngcobo to push their total beyond the 150-run mark.
Until then the KwaZulu-Natal Inland side would have been very happy with their work in the field, having restricted the Northerns Titans’s scoring rate to 6.7 an over in what was a virtual knockout match in Pool B. Ferreira had shown on Wednesday in the Titans’s win against the Mpumalanga Rhinos that he was a capable big-hitter, blasting 19 runs off 10 balls in a seven overs-a-side encounter. Those runs proved instrumental for Northerns in a nine-run triumph as did his performance on Thursday.
QUALIFICATION SECURED: A 24-run victory over the HollywoodBets Tuskers sees us progress to the knockout stages of the CSA Provincial T20 Knockout.— Momentum Multiply Titans (@Titans_Cricket) September 30, 2021
Okuhle Cele bowled skillfully to get 2-25, supported by Aaron Phangiso (1-19). A good outing for the #SkyBlues🤝.#T20KO pic.twitter.com/GEg0H1nsbP
The Titans were missing skipper Dean Elgar, who pulled a hamstring in the pre-match warm-ups, but his replacement, the right-hander Jan-Hendrik Prertorius played at a similar pace, scoring 40 off 39 balls.
The Titans had their best power play of the week, thanks to Neil Brand’s 19 off 10 balls, in which he took advantage of a poor over from Zakariya Paruk to smash a six and a four over the cover boundary.
However the Titans struggled to build on that start, coming unstuck against the Tuskers’ spinners, losing five wickets for 38 runs in 33 balls to slump from 80/2 in the 12th over to 118/6 in the 17th. Off-spinner Kurtlyn Mannikam stood out, taking 2/17 and his progress this season, particularly given the shortage of his kind at professional level in the country since Dane Piedt’s departure should be closely monitored.
Thankfully for the Titans, Ferreira came to the rescue hitting three fours and two sixes in his innings of 43 not out off 24 balls.
The Titans knew that Cameron Delport was the major wicket with Okuhle Cele picking him up at the start of the fourth over. A clear plan had been developed not to give Delport room, with the Titans’ bowlers tucking him up with short balls aimed at his ribs. It was a similar delivery that led to his dismissal, as he picked out Aya Gqamane on the square leg boundary, leading to excited celebrations among the Titans players and coaches.
While the Tuskers matched the Titans score over after over, they could never get far enough ahead to negate Ferreira’s big hitting in the 19th over. Aaron Phangiso, who took over as captain in Elgar’s absence cleverly marshalled his troops in the field, and bowled another superb spell to finish with 1/19 in four overs. Cele, claimed 2/24 in his set of four overs.
The Titans joined the Free State Knights in qualifying for the quarterfinals from Pool B. Those matches will be played in the third week of October in Kimberley.