Farhaan Behardien top-scored with 45 for the Titans on Sunday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

DURBAN – The Titans have made things very interesting at the top of the Momentum One-Day Cup standings after they outlasted the Dolphins by 33 runs (Duckworth/Lewis method) on a trying Sunday in Durban.

The win puts the Pretoria outfit in second place, a point away from the Dolphins, and two ahead of the Warriors, in a bottleneck at the top end of the table.

The weather tried its best to curtail what was supposed to be a keen contest, but some creative mathematics allowed a result to be found by the men in blue, with the lights beaming over what was due to be a day game.

The win for Mark Boucher’s team means that they now lie in third place, but they have also denied the Dolphins the chance to almost certainly secure a home final.

The Dolphins had won the toss and elected to bowl first, with the match already delayed by the elements.

Fifty overs became 40 aside straight away, and the Titans compiled a workmanlike 204/8.

The pitch and the overhead conditions didn’t allow for the free-flowing strokes that have characterised much of the competition for both sides, as the bowlers held sway.

From 74/4, the visitors leant on Farhaan Behardien (45), Albie Morkel (38) and David Wiese (37), to put up a total to test the Dolphins.

Henry Davids had earlier dug in for 34 off 62 balls at the top of the order to lay some sort of foundation for the fluency that came later.

In reply, the Dolphins were again held up by rain, which saw their target reduced to 189, but off 34 overs.

Much was expected of a top-order that was bolstered by the return of Cameron Delport (2), but he and Morné van Wyk (4) were surprised by the Titans opening the bowling with Aiden Markram, of all people, and the innocuous off-spin bagged both scalps in an impressive spell of 2/28 in seven tidy overs.

Sarel Erwee (38) tried valiantly to fight the good fight, but the Titans were throttling the run-rate with effective bowling changes.

As long as he was at the crease, skipper Khaya Zondo (41) was the last big hope, along with the powerful Andile Phehlukwayo.

The left-handed slugger got to 25, but the sluggish surface got the better of him as Junior Dala came back to good effect at the death.

The fast bowler accounted for the hard-hitting Robbie Frylinck, too, and that really was the end of the Dolphins’ chase as they were eventually bowled out for a paltry 155.

The men from Durban still lead the way with 24 points after nine games, but the Titans now look handily placed. They are just a point behind, with a game in hand, and their final fixtures are both at home.

Added to that, they play the hapless Cobras in their final game after they host third-placed Warriors in a crucial encounter on Tuesday.

If the Titans win both their matches this week, they will host a second final, and they will seriously fancy their chances of adding the 50-over title to their T20 Challenge trophy from earlier in the term.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, have to beat the Knights on Thursday, and then look to other results to help their claims for a home final.

Independent Media