The Cape Cobras top-order lacked support from those that followed as they crashed to a 33-run defeat at the hands of the Titans at SuperSport Park.
The Cape Cobras top-order lacked support from those that followed as they crashed to a 33-run defeat at the hands of the Titans in their Standard Bank Pro20 match at SuperSport Park on Friday.
Ian Harvey (35) and JP Duminy (27) added 48 for the second wicket off 35 balls, but the Cobras, chasing 181, slipped to 147 for nine in their 20 overs, losing five wickets for 35 runs in the middle of their innings.
Ethy Mbhalati was the initial cause of their decline, with Duminy slapping a drive out of the screws but straight to Martin van Jaarsveld at extra cover. In the tall paceman's next over, Harvey missed a pull and was bowled off-stump.
The Cobras were suddenly 74 for three at the halfway mark and their middle-order couldn't stand the oven-like heat the Titans bowlers and fielders subjected them to. The inexperience showed as Renier Munnik, Henry Davids and Rory Kleinveldt all fell for single figures, but the rawest batsman of the lot, Dominic Telo hit the ball around impressively as he made 34 off just 18 balls.
But, Thami Tsolekile (15) apart, there was no-one else to bat around him and the match continued on its straight line to a Titans victory.
Mbhalati (two for 29) and Pierre de Bruyn (two for 32) did most of the damage in reducing the middle-order to ashes, but a fiery Morne Morkel was highly impressive too. He was actually the pick of the bowlers, with two for 17 in his four overs.
The Titans made a heady start to their innings but were then snagged up somewhat as they scored 180 for seven.
The cunning slow medium-pace of Harvey undermined the Titans after they had been 85 without loss in the ninth over. An unfortunate power failure which stopped play for half-an-hour also hampered the home side.
Harvey picked up the wickets of an in-form Gulam Bodi (39) and the dangerous Albie Morkel (6), at a cost of just 31 runs, as the Titans lost wickets at the death and their way.
Skipper Van Jaarsveld, with 32 off 25 balls, did his best to convert the wonderful platform laid on by the opening batsmen into a match-winning total. He hit two fours and a six, playing strokes all around the wicket and placing the ball superbly.
But Van Jaarsveld was the fifth batsman to be dismissed, in the 18th over, when Andrew Puttick got his big hands around a slog-sweep off Charl Willoughby at cow-corner.
In an excellent final over that cost just six runs, Alan Dawson got rid of Brendon Reddy, caught on the square-cover boundary.
A power failure and two quick wickets had earlier interrupted the burgeoning Titans innings.
After Titans openers AB de Villiers and Bodi had mercilessly put the Cobras pacemen to the sword, the slow medium-pace of Harvey and the spin of super-sub Paul Adams brought about two wickets.
But the Titans had still raced along to 98 for two after 11 overs against feeble new-ball bowling before the power died and the floodlights fizzled out.
De Villiers and Bodi smashed 85 off 54 balls and the Cobras desperately needed a wicket when Bodi misread a delivery from Harvey that was fired into his pads and was bowled.
Bodi's 39 had come off 28 deliveries and featured six fours and a six pulled over midwicket off Kleinveldt, all of them with remarkable timing.
De Villiers had put away the bad ball with ruthless efficiency as he raced to 51 off 28 balls, with four fours and three glorious pulled sixes, but the Titans suffered another blow just five balls after Bodi's dismissal when Adams duped the opener with a quicker, fuller delivery. De Villiers was trying to do the cut and the ball rattled into his stumps.
After being toyed with by the Titans openers, the Cobras had produced three tight overs to bring the run-rate back to below 10 an over.
It was still a welcome breather for the visitors, however, when the lights went out.
The Titans have now got a full house of three wins from three matches, while the Cobras have at least got their win over the KZN Dolphins last week under their belt.