File photo – Aiden Markram smashed a mammoth 161 to clinch the Momentum Cup for Titans © Getty/ICC
Emphatic centuries from Titans‘ openers Aiden Markram and Henry Davids handed Warriors a 236-run drubbing in the final of the Momentum One Day Cup at SuperSport Park in Centurion. A record opening stand of 212 propelled Titans to 425 for 5 – the highest total in the history of South African franchise cricket – before Warriors were bowled out in 31 overs.
Having elected to bat, Titans raced to 100 in 16.2 overs, as Markram peppered eight fours and two sixes to bring up his century off 96 balls. In the next 27 deliveries he faced, the 22-year-old cleared the boundary five more times and clobbered three more fours to register his second-highest score in the tournament (161), after his 183 against Lions in Johannesburg. Davids, who finished the competition as the leading run-scorer with 673 runs at 84.12, joined in the run-fest with a fluent 98-ball 114 – studded with 13 fours and four sixes – in what was his third century and sixth 50-plus knock in eight innings.
Once Warriors captain JJ Smuts broke the stand with Davids’ dismissal in the 30th over, wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen – a late replacement for AB de Villiers, who pulled out due to a back injury – sustained the onslaught with a 50-ball 60, before Chris Morris plundered six sixes and a four to inflict a final salvo with an unbeaten 47 off only 12 balls. Heino Kuhn and Morris added 52 for the sixth wicket in the final 2.2 overs, helping Titans post a total in excess of 400 for the third time this season.
Of the eight bowlers used by Warriors, Smuts was the only one to leak less than seven runs an over. Anrich Nortje took the bulk of the beating, conceding 62 in six overs despite having picked up two wickets.
The fate of Warriors’ massive chase depended heavily on strong starts from openers Smuts and Gihahn Clote – the side’s top two scorers in the tournament. But an early strike from Morris (2 for 41) set them back, as he bowled Cloete (3) in the second over of the innings. Lungi Ngidi’s subsequent double-strike off successive overs accounted for Colin Ingram (1) and Smuts (13), reducing the opposition to 22 for 3 in the fifth over. While Warriors failed to recover thereon, only Jerry Nqolo (40) offered any resistance before falling to Markram (1 for 7), who was named the Player of the Match. Junior Dala further dented Warriors’ chances with two wickets, taking his tournament tally to 16 – joint with Robbie Frylinck and Shadley van Schalkwyk at the top – before Tabraiz Shamsi’s treble closed out the game, skittling Warriors for 189.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo