Behardien's 15-ball 55 takes Titans into final

File photo – Farhaan Behardien struck the fastest half-century in the competition’s history © AFP

In a top-of-the-table, rain-affected clash, Titans secured their place in the final with a narrow win over Warriors, who will host Lions in the qualifier. The match was reduced to five overs a side and Titans prevailed thanks to Farhaan Behardien’s 55 off 15 balls – the fastest in the competition’s history.

Titans lost their openers Jonathan Vandiar and Heino Kuhn in the first seven balls but Behardien stole the show after that. He struck four fours and five sixes in an explosive knock, during which no bowler was spared. Jon-Jon Smuts’ solitary over cost 24, Sisanda Magala’s 27 and Kyle Abbott – playing his first game for his new franchise – was hit for 18. Behardien’s 50 came off 14 balls and he put on 73 runs for the third wicket with Heinrich Klaasen – who scored 17 off nine balls – to take Titans to a competitive five-over total.

Warriors appeared up for it in the reply and racked up 19 runs off the first over and 29 off the first ten balls. Smuts was dismissed after that but Colin Ingram and Christiaan Jonker kept up with the rate. Warriors were 53 for 1 after thee overs, needing 28 off the last two.

David Wiese conceded no boundaries in his over and dismissed Ingram to leave Warriors needing 22 of the final over. Malusi Siboto conceded just five runs off the first four balls to put the game beyond Warriors and Jonker’s 10 runs off the last two balls were in vain.

File photo – Wayne Parnell’s effort went in vain © AFP

Lions booked their spot in Tuesday’s qualifier with a slender victory over Cobras – bolstered by the return of several international batsmen – on a scorching afternoon in Paarl. Legspinner Eddie Leie’s four wicket haul was crucial in the Lions’ defence of 139.

Asked to bat first, Lions started well after openers Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks put on 45 inside six overs. The loss of Hendricks and Dwaine Pretorius in successive overs pegged Lions back, but a 61-run third-wicket stand between van der Dussen, who scored the innings’ only half-century, and Mangaliso Mosehle, set Lions up well at 109 for 3 in the 14th over.

But Wayne Parnell and Tshepo Moreki carved their way through Lions’ middle-order and took 6 for 48 between them to leave Lions with a below-par total of 139 for 8. Of the Lions’ last six batsmen to visit the crease, only Temba Bavuma managed double figures.

Cobras would have been confident of chasing down the total, especially with Hashim Amla and JP Duminy back in their XI, but they were the first two batsmen to be dismissed – Amla for 15 and Duminy for 3, both falling to Dwaine Pretorius – to leave Cobras needing contributions from their domestic regulars.

Richard Levi stood man alone for the first half of the reply and plundered 41 runs off 33 balls but the rest were outspun by Leie and Bjorn Fortuin – they lost their last seven wickets for 47 runs and only Kieron Pollards’ run-a-ball 18 looked like it could do any damage.

The win put Lions one point ahead of the Cobras and put them through to the qualifiers, where they will face Warriors on Tuesday, with the winner taking on Titans in Friday’s final.

In a fixture that had no bearing on the playoffs, Knights secured their third-win of a disappointing campaign as they finished the season at the bottom. They beat the Dolphins, who won the same number of matches and ended above them by a point.

Dolphins’ innings did not get going until the final over, in a game reduced to eight overs a side. They were 38 for 5 after seven overs with all of Cameron Delport, Morne van Wyk, Kevin Pietersen, Robbie Frylinck and Keshav Maharaj dismissed in single figures. Khaya Zondo hit three sixes in four balls off Corne Dry in the last over to give Dolphins something to defend.

After two overs, they would have known it was not enough. Knights were 29 for 1 at the end of the second over, with David Miller and Patrick Kruger in no mood to hang around. Imran Tahir bowled a boundary-free third over but the Knights were in control after that and reached the total with two overs to spare.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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