Lions maul Titans
Highveld Lions 256/3 (Quinton de Kock 115, Gulam Bodi 54, Neil McKenzie 47*, Rowan Richards 1/34) beat the Titans 255 (Farhaan Behardien 102, Albie Morkel 54, Chris Morris 4/33, Aaron Phangiso 1/38) by seven wickets with 79 balls to spare
As far as chases go, this was as easy as one could get.
On the back of a 76-run opening partnership by Gulam Bodi and Stephen Cook and penetrative early bowling, the Lions clinched the double over their Jukskei rivals last night and stretched their lead to 13 points at the top of the Momentum One-day Cup log.
When Bodi and Cook fell within 30 runs of each other – the latter trapped in front by Paul Harris for 22 and Bodi caught behind attempting an ill-advised hook – 106/2 brought Neil McKenzie and Quinton de Kock together. Methodically, they dismembered the Titans without ever showing traces of violence.
The four sixes hit by De Kock were all caressed rather than muscled, except for his fourth one, which brought up his hundred, when he smeared Henry Davids over midwicket. He made the most of the life he was gifted by Albie Morkel, who dropped him off Rowan Richards when he was on 40.
At the other end McKenzie was only too willing to play his comfortable nudging and nurdling game, but when the bad balls presented themselves, he duly dispatched them with ease.
Not at any stage did he try to match his younger counterpart shot-for-shot. Their 145-run association was ended when De Kock skied CJ de Villiers to point, where he was well caught by Behardien. David Wiese’s comical drop of McKenzie to gift the win summed up the Titans’ night: simple chances not taken.
A recurring theme of the Titans’ season is that of one or two major contributions, followed by an innings flounder. Caught in the mire at 50/4 in the 13th over, an old-fashioned recovery was needed. It was provided by Behardien and Morkel, who put on an 89-run stand.
It was the worst of starts as the visitors lost Henry Davids and Heino Kuhn in quick succession. Davids edged one he should have left to first slip to Neil McKenzie off Chris Morris, who excelled with 4/33 from his 10 overs.
Kuhn didn’t learn his lesson, edging the same bowler to Zander de Bruyn at second slip off the same bowler.
Hardus Viljoen did not have bite and zip from the hazy night. What he did have was enough seam movement to get through Mangaliso Mosehle’s gap between bat and pad.
Martin van Jaarsveld failed to provide the captain’s innings as he snicked Pumelela Matshikwe to De Kock.
Morkel relished the opportunity of spending time at the crease and scored an un-Morkel-like 65-ball 50. Even the shots belied his natural aggression except for one straight six off Aaron Phangiso. Just when the hosts were releasing their squeeze, Morkel took on a single that wasn’t on and not even a bumbling and fumbling attempt at the run-out persuaded Morkel to turn back.
That error pressed Behardien to press on to his maiden List A century off 110 balls.
He was particularly severe on Matshikwe, clouting him for two sixes and four fours. It was an energetic session, with Matshikwe’s clean figures of 1/15 in seven looking a rather ugly 1/60 at the end of his 10-over allotment.
Behardien eventually holed out to Stephen Cook off Morris at mid-off and despite late flurries from David Wiese (16) and Roelof van der Merwe (28), the bad start proved costly on a good batting track.