Titans hold nerve to beat Heat

Marchant de Lange (Gallo Images)
Marchant de Lange (Gallo Images)
Mohali - The Titans have held their nerve to defend a low total and beat the Brisbane Heat by four runs in their second Group B match in the Champions League T20 tournament at Mohali on Tuesday.

The Titans, after being sent into bat under conditions that were ideal for both seam and swing bowling following heavy rain that delayed the start of play, looked to be well short of par when they were dismissed for 123 inside the 19th over.

Ironically, Henry Davids and Heino Kuhn had got them through the most difficult period with a second-wicket partnership of 69 in less than nine overs.

But they contrived to lose their last nine wickets for only 53 runs.

If undisciplined bowling cost them their opening match against the Chennai Super Kings, it was bad running between the wickets – and some poor shot selection – that nearly undid them this time.

Their two in-form batsmen, Davids (39 off 31 balls) and AB de Villiers (28 off 19 balls), were both dismissed in this manner and this brought their momentum to a halt at a stage when they looked well on track for a total in excess of 150.

But their pace bowlers, revelling in the conditions that must have made them feel they were playing at home, responded to the challenge.

Man-of-the-Match Marchant de Lange took 3/13 and Rowan Richards 2/20 while Morne Morkel bowled a lot better than his figures of 1/26 indicate.

De Lange and Morkel took charge of the last two overs when their opponents needed a gettable 20 for victory and then needed 10 off De Lange’s final six balls. In a repeat of his performance that won the Proteas Blue Label Telecoms squad an important victory in New Zealand two years ago, the Limpopo speedster was well up to the task and finished the game decisively with a perfect Yorker.

De Lange bowled as close to 150km/h as anybody has managed in this tournament to date and, provided he can stay free from injury, he must be right back in the frame for Proteas selection in both limited overs formats.

His combination of raw pace and accuracy certainly gives the Proteas another ‘death’ bowling option.

Those responsible for the fortunes of the Proteas will also be delighted to see both De Villiers and Morkel hitting top form with the Test series againt Pakistan just around the corner.

The Titans are now in third place as the narrow margin of their victory means that their net run rate is still in negative territory but they are right back in the race for semi-final qualification.
 
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