Titans mangle Eagles
The Easterns Titans still had four overs in store when they mangled the Pro20 defending champions, the Goodyear Eagles, by seven wickets at SuperSport Park.
The Easterns Titans still had four overs in store when they mangled the Standard Bank Pro20 Series defending champions, the Goodyear Eagles, by seven wickets at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.
Opener Alviro Petersen was the ideal manager of the Titans run-chase, scoring 64 off just 40 balls as he guided the home side to 151 for three in 16 overs.
The Titans got off to a blistering start, Petersen and Albie Morkel putting on 75 in seven overs as the openers set the tone.
Morkel showed his tremendous timing to good effect, hammering 36 off 23 balls.
You would never normally bring on a spinner as early as the eighth over in this slaughterhouse cricket, but it was the off-spin of Thandi Tshabalala, the leading wicket-taker in the inaugural Pro20 Series last year, who slowed the flood of runs.
Tshabalala’s first three overs were once again of super-hero proportions as he picked up two for 16 (the wickets of Morkel and Zander de Bruyn (24)), but there was never any real chance of the Eagles taking the honours as long as Petersen was there.
Petersen deservedly earned the plaudits as the MasterBlaster for his innings, which included seven fours and two sixes, the rest of the Eagles attack proving threadbare.
To add to the defending champions’ ills, they conceded the bonus point when Johan van der Wath bowled a no-ball off the last ball of the 16th over and Petersen launched his free hit off the next delivery for six.
Earlier, Craig Thyssen ended a faltering Goodyear Eagles innings with a bang as the visitors scored 150 for eight.
Thyssen came in with the Eagles floundering on 98 for six but played with wonderful maturity and no shortage of big-hitting skill as he smashed 31 off 13 balls.
The Pro20 Series is meant to be about run-scoring, six-hitting carnage, but it was the Titans bowlers who struck must horridly. They reduced the Eagles to 71 for four with only opener Jonathan Beukes showing meaningful resistance, participating in a 40-run stand for the second wicket with Loots Bosman (19), the leading run-scorer in last season’s competition.
But Alfonso Thomas, coming on as the first-change seamer, trapped Beukes leg-before for 26 off 23 balls and bowled Davey Jacobs for a duck to leave the Eagles reeling.
But Thyssen and Cliffie Deacon (21 not out) announced themselves as unlikely lower-order heroes as 50 runs were scored off the last three overs. Thomas’s fine start turned into a clown show as he conceded 43 runs in his four overs.
Dale Steyn, who bowled his four overs for just 17 runs and uprooted Morne van Wyk’s stumps, was superb with the new ball for the Titans, giving South African cricket officials plenty to think about, while it was also a fine evening with the ball for Justin Kemp, the all-rounder being hit for just 16 runs in his four overs.
The asking rate for the Titans was 7.52 runs per over and it was only a mild surprise that they coasted to victory.