The Nashua Titans overcame tenacious Mercedes Warriors bowling to sneak a four-wicket victory with three balls to spare in their Standard Bank Pro20 match.
The Nashua Titans overcame tenacious Mercedes Warriors bowling to sneak a four-wicket victory with three balls to spare in their Standard Bank Pro20 match at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Sunday.
The Titans knocked off their small target of 113 thanks to a stand of 73 off 58 deliveries between Gulam Bodi and Albie Morkel.
When the pair came together, the Titans innings had gone where the Warriors batsmen had slid to with the hosts in big trouble at 39 for five after 10 overs.
But Bodi was to play another crucial innings for the Titans, this time displaying admirable composure as he rode the early storm before hitting out to finish with 43 off 49 balls, with four fours.
Morkel showed terrific power and timing and his 46 not out off just 30 deliveries showed he is likely to go down in the annals of Pro20 cricket as one of its better practitioners.
Earlier, a fine new-ball burst by Tyron Henderson had left the Titans in the lurch.
AB de Villiers (4) came a long way down the pitch to the third ball of the innings and nicked a big hit, while Johann Myburgh (2) and Zander de Bruyn (3) had both yet to settle before Henderson dismissed them.
De Bruyn was particularly angry to be given out when a fiery lifter from Henderson seemed to come off his arm and go through to wicketkeeper Athenkosi Dyili.
But Bodi and Morkel brought about an impressive conversion in fortunes and stilled any talk of the Titans choking in sight of victory after their Standard Bank Cup final defeat.
Titans medium-pacer Pierre de Bruyn had earlier mauled the Warriors batting line-up to send them crashing to 112 all out.
De Bruyn took four for 11 - the Titans' best bowling figures in the competition - with Justin Kreusch the one Warriors batsman to try and lift the siege.
Opener Kreusch struck the ball sweetly in his 73 off 58 deliveries, with seven fours and three sixes, and very nearly became the first South African batsman to carry his bat in 20/20 cricket.
Sri Lankan K.S. Rodrigo is the only batsman in world cricket to have batted through the 20 overs.
Kreusch received scant support, however, from his fellow batsmen, with the next highest score being 16 by skipper Robin Peterson.
Kreusch and Peterson added 33 in 4.1 overs for the second wicket and Henderson (7) put on 21 with Kreusch for the third wicket in 2.3 overs.
But once Henderson was run out, stranded in his over-eagerness to take a run, the Titans bowlers held the whip hand.
De Bruyn, whose gentle bowling is seemingly innocuous, showed his appetite for the limited-overs game as he stuck to a straight line and claimed the wickets of Arno Jacobs (2), Laden Gamiet (1) and Michael Smith and Dyili, both for ducks, all to mediocre strokes.
Brendon Reddy (three for 31) and Morkel (one for 14 in four overs) were also content to keep the ball full and did well.