Donovan Ferreira. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
The Titans underlined their status as the best team in this season’s CSA T20 Challenge by duly claiming the title with a thrilling four-wicket win over the Dolphins in Saturday’s showpiece in Potchefstroom.
In what was a pretty compelling contest, the men from Centurion were indebted to their band of hitters in the middle-order to carry them over the line after it seemed they might get strangled by the Durbanites’ spinners.
That was just as well because proceedings could’ve been overshadowed by the alarming scene at deep square during the Titans innings, when Keegan Petersen had to be stretchered off with a suspected ruptured hamstring after a stirring stop on the boundary.
SCORECARD | Titans v Dolphins
The diminutive right-hander grimaced and looks in real danger of missing out on the Proteas Test tour of Australia, which starts in six weeks’ time.
Chasing a competitive 163, the Titans slumped to 98/5 at the end of the 14th over as injured Dolphins skipper Prenelan Subrayen (1/25) and Jon-Jon Smuts (2/25) once again illustrated how important the tweakers have been in this tournament.
But they fell into the trap again of not containing Donovan Ferreira, who lashed three fours and a six in a crucial 40 off 25 deliveries, and found a perfect ally in Dayaan Galiem, whose nifty, unbeaten 32 capped an outstanding all-round day for the all-rounder, who also boasted fine figures of 1/18 off three.
In the end, the Dolphins would’ve rued using the expensive Ottneil Baartman for the final over rather than Smuts, who had an over left in the bank.
Earlier, Smuts and a revitalised Keegan Petersen shared a second-wicket stand of 115 as the Dolphins put themselves on track for a decent total.
Petersen was particularly dynamic in hitting two sixes off his 52-ball 63, while Smuts was as powerful as ever in his 69 off 50, in the process passing 4 000 T20 runs.
While Jason Smith’s cameo at the end ensured a challenging target, there’s an interesting debate to be had whether the Durbanites perhaps wasted their platform to an extent.
That didn’t seem to matter much after the short ball accounted for Dewald Brevis in the second over and led to the Titans struggling to gain the ascendancy in the chase.
But Ferreira and Galiem had other plans.
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