Two out of two for Titans

2012-10-18 00:00

THE Titans made it two out of two with a comprehensive 59-run win against the Auckland Aces at Kingsmead yesterday in the Champions League T20.

With the weather holding out, Auckland skipper Gareth Hopkins won the toss and asked the Titans to have first go on a pitch which saw Titans openers Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids make merry.

With the new ball coming onto the bat in the early overs, they made good use of the six-over powerplay, racing to 44 thanks to a healthy offering of half volleys from Auckland’s Kyle Mills and Michael Bates.

Coming off a 109-run opening stand against the Perth Scorchers in the previous match, Rudolph and Davids looked untroubled and on course for another stand of substance before Davids was yorked by Azhar Mahmood for 35 (5x4, 1x6) in a stand of 74.

Titans captain Martin van Jaarsveld did not last long, out for 13 soon after the 100 was bought up in the 13th over. Rudolph meanwhile forged ahead, reaching his second consecutive half century as he saw the Titans well beyond the hundred mark. He was eventually out in the 18th over trying to force the pace for a well-constructed 63 from 56 balls with seven fours.

It was scant relief for the Aces as Farhaan Berhardien propelled the Titans past 150 with a blistering attack on Kyle Mills in his last over, lashing 21 runs as he finished unbeaten on 48 from 23 balls (3x6, 1x4). Finishing on 172/4, the Titans had something to defend. For the Aces, wickets were shared between Mills (1/42), Bates (1/21) and Mahmood (1/32).

In reply, the Aces never got out of the blocks, reaching 113 all out in 18.1 overs. It could have been an embarrassment if not for a 45-run last- wicket partnership between Adams and Bates, which ended when Adams was last man out for a spirited 30 with two fours and two sixes. It added some scant respectability to what can only be described as a weak batting performance from a team who had relied on their top order to set them up in previous matches.

Openers Lou Vincent and Martin Guptill were gone with 10 on the board and the rest followed at regular intervals, with only Anaru Kitchen (23) offering a whimper of resistance.

The Titans bowlers never relinquished their stranglehold, Ethy Mbhalati (3/26) and Alfonso Thomas (3/18) ensuring there was only one result on the cards, a comprehensive Titans’ win.

The Aces’ 10th-wicket partnership was the highest T20 10th wicket partnership at Kingsmead, easily beating the 18 set in a Scotland and Pakistan match a few years ago.

The win sees the Titans at the top of the log after their two matches and Roelof van der Merwe’s pre-match words on the Aces’ middle order not being exposed and the team playing ugly cricket eerily came to life.

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