Johannesburg – An inglorious collapse from South Western Districts saw the Titans claim the first semi-final spot in the CSA T20 Knock Out competition with a comfortable win in Kimberley on Tuesday.
The SWD openers, Leus du Plooy and Hanno Kotze had provided the perfect start with an opening partnership 82 - that included 66 runs being scoring in the power play - however it all went wrong for them when both were dismissed in the ninth over to hand the momentum of the match to Northerns.
From 82/0 at the start of the ninth over, SWD imploded losing all 10 wickets for just 56 runs in 52 balls, with four of their wickets lost to run outs.
The Titans’ hefty total was thanks to another invaluable contribution from Donavon Ferreira, who emerged as a clinical ‘finisher’ during the pool stages in Bloemfontein. The Titans will be grateful that his employers continue to give Ferreira time off from his job, to help them out, because they have needed his contributions with the bat to get them, first out of the Pool stages, and then Tuesday into the semifinals.
He made 55 not out off 29 balls, sharing partnerships of 56 for the fifth wicket with Sibonelo Makhanya (26 off 18 balls) and 50 for the sixth with Aya Gqamane (23* off 10) to help the Titans score 69 runs off the last five overs.
Until then, SWD would have been pleased with their bowling, with the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, Herschell America, once again starring. Theunis de Bruyn, who returned in place of the injured Dean Elgar, had kept the first half of the Titans innings together with a well constructed 48 off 33 balls (4x4, 3x6). But he was one of two wickets that America picked up in the 11th over, which slowed the Titans’ momentum.
America increased his wicket tally for the competition to 10, picking up 3/34 but his last over, the 19th of the innings, cost 19 runs, as the Titans regained the initiative.
Du Plooy and Kotze stayed ahead of the rate in the power play, hitting 11 fours and a six with the fielding restrictions in place as the Titans’ seamers struggled with their lengths.
Kotze was the first of the wickets to fall in the ninth over bowled by the crafty Aaron Phangiso. Slowing his pace, and giving the ball extra flight he had Kotze stumped by wicketkeeper Gihahn Cloete, and then followed with the wicket of SWD captain Jean du Plessisoff the next ball, as he gloved an attempted sweep with Cloete taking a diving catch behind the stumps.
Du Plooy’s eye-catching innings was ended by a wonderful piece of fielding - very much against the grain on a bumpy Kimberley Oval outfield - with Simon Harmer, diving to his right, stopping the ball with one hand, and although his throw was wayward, Cloete’s dive beat Du Plooy’s bat.
The former Free Stater, who’s been plying his trade recently with English County Derbyshire, scored 55 off 33 balls, hitting eight fours and a six.
The rest of the innings was an ugly old mess for the Oudtshoorn team featuring dreadful running between the wickets and panicky shots giving Titans’s outfielders catching practice.
Phangiso again underlined his class in this format, taking 2/18 in three overs.
The Titans will await the winner of Wednesday’s match between the Dolphins and Warriors, to see who they will face for a place in the final.
Multiply Titans 192/5 (Donavon Ferreira 55*, Theunis de Bruyn 48, Hershell America 3/34, Marcello Piedt 1/25)
Six Gun Grill South Western Districts 138 (Leus du Plooy 55, Hanno Kotze 24, Aaron Phangiso 2/18, Neil Brand 1/2)
Titans won by 54 runs