Markram plunders another ton as Titans clinch title

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Titans 356 for 5 (Markram 127, de Bruyn 72) beat Dolphins 221 (Vilas 59, Steyn 3-36) by 135 runs

Aiden Markram scored his third hundred of the Momentum One-Day Cup to set up a 135-run win for Titans over Dolphins in the final of the competition at Centurion on Sunday.

Markram plundered eight sixes and five fours to score 127 from 88 deliveries, boosting Titans to 356 for 5. Dolphins’ response never got going, and an attack containing five Protea bowlers (if Markram and Dean Elgar are included) shared the wickets around to skittle them for 221.

Markram’s hundred took him to the very top of the competition’s run tables, with his 542 runs having come in half as many games as the next highest scorer, Cape Cobras’ Kyle Verreynne, who scored 453 runs in 10 matches. It was Markram’s seventh List A ton overall, and his fourth eye-catching innings of the competition after he recorded scores of 169, 139 and 85 during Titans’ run to the final. With his latest hundred, made from No. 4, he propelled Titans to the highest total batting first in any day game at SuperSport Park.

Before he arrived to bat, however, the batsmen that preceded him did an excellent job giving the Titans a flying start after they lost the toss and were asked to bat first. Theunis de Bruyn’s half century put them on the front foot early, and Titans had set a platform by cruising past 100 with just one wicket down in the 20th over.

It was not until he had almost reached his fifty that Markram’s strike rate reached a run a ball, but thereafter he accelerated rapidly, reaching his hundred from the 75th ball he faced in the 45th over amid a flurry of boundaries. He hit his eighth six – and third off Andile Phehlukwayo – off the first ball of the 49th over, but then top edged a big hit to be caught at backward point. By then, Titans’ score was well beyond 300, Markram having added 56 in quick time alongside Farhaan Behardien.

Dolphins suffered an early setback in their pursuit when Dale Steyn had Vaughn van Jaarsveld in his second over, and by the end of the Powerplay the required rate had already inflated to 7.82. After his second ball was slapped for six, Tabraiz Shamsi came back strongly to nip out two wickets in his second over, and Dolphins started to slide.

Phehlukwayo and Dane Vilas then launched a spirited fightback, bringing up the 150 in the 24th over to get the chase back on track before Phehlukwayo was trapped lbw by Steyn. The decision to give him out appeared to be the incorrect one, however, Phehlukwayo having got some bat on it, but without recourse to DRS, which was not used in this game, it could not be challenged.

Indeed, the final was somewhat marred by some iffy umpiring decisions from Umpires Adrian Holdstock and Shaun George. Khaya Zondo might have got some bat on the delivery that Shamsi removed him lbw with, and certainly showed his displeasure, while an inside edge was clearly evident when Steyn had an lbw appeal against Phehlukwayo upheld. Phehlukwayo had reached 43 at better than a run a ball when he was dismissed, having staged a revival alongside Vilas with a stand that was worth 92 when it was broken.

There was further controversy when third umpire Bongani Jele ruled Sibonelo Makhanya run out despite Titans wicketkeeper Sizwe Masondo appearing to have disturbed the stumps before Markram’s direct hit. While Titans were undoubtedly favourites to win the game, and probably would have done so regardless, the match might have been much closer had those decisions not gone against Dolphins.

As it was, they folded quickly as Titans made inroads into their tail. Elgar got rid of Keshav Maharaj, caught at mid off for 20, and seamer Matthew Arnold then wrapped up the game when he had Preneland Subrayen caught at backward point in the 40th over. For the Dolphins, it was another disappointing end to a final as they were left still searching for an elusive first outright one-day title in the franchise era, while Titans bagged their fourth 50-over crown in six seasons.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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