The victory not only sees the Titans advance to the final against the bizhub Highveld Lions next weekend at the Wanderers, but also gains them an entry into the financial bonanza that is the Champions League.
The Titans were chasing a moderate 145 for victory and were yet again facing charges of slipping at the final hurdle as they crashed to 67 for five before Behardien (37) and Albie Morkel (25) took them within sight of victory, only for a lower-order collapse to leave them needing 13 runs off the final over to win.
Thomas missed the first three balls of left-armer Jandre Coetzee’s over, launched the fourth over wide long-on for six, missed the fifth again and then hammered the final ball for six over midwicket to secure an extraordinary tie and the super over.
The Titans batted first in the super over and notched 19 runs off Johan van der Wath, including a six and a four by Behardien, both swashbuckling strokes through extra cover.
Thomas, who has played 133 T20 matches for five different franchises, is as well-versed in the dark arts of T20 cricket as anyone and has the composure and smarts to pull off the biggest swindles on the field. Having done it with the bat, he then kept the Knights duo of Morne van Wyk and Rilee Rossouw to just six runs in their super over.
In a match of many twists and turns, Van der Wath, still one of the best bowlers in the country, had seemingly won the game for the Knights as his new-ball burst of 3-15 reduced the Titans to 29 for four.
Ryan McLaren, another bowling all-rounder who should still be in the international picture, made the initial breakthrough with the scalp of Henry Davids for a duck in a maiden first over.
Van der Wath bowled the other opener, Heino Kuhn, for 12 when the batsman missed a pull at a fullish delivery, before the fiery pace bowler produced a top-class third over that included a double-strike.
Roelof van der Merwe (10) miscued a lofted drive to deep mid-on and, two balls later, Faf du Plessis (6) edged a full away-swinger to give a catch to wicketkeeper Van Wyk and a crucial breakthrough for the visitors.
Martin van Jaarsveld (24) and Behardien added 38 off 30 balls to steady the innings and Behardien and Morkel had tilted the balance back in the Titans’ favour with their stand of 53 off 43 deliveries that left them needing 26 runs off the last three overs.
But the Titans suffered another sad collapse as they lost three wickets for 13 runs in the next two overs, all three of them weak dismissals.
Facing the slow seam of Coetzee, Morkel skied a full toss to deep midwicket, where Aubrey Swanepoel had to latch on to a steepling catch. The big-hitting left-hander hung his head as soon as he hit the ball, departing the scene after hammering two sixes off 21 balls.
David Wiese fell for a single, plonking the ball straight down long-on’s throat, Coetzee ending his penultimate over with figures of 3-13.
Behardien then fell with 14 required off seven balls, depositing a low full toss in the hands of long-off, Van der Wath finishing with outstanding figures of 4-24.
Coetzee then bowled the final over with the Titans needing 13 to win and 12 to tie, and Thomas swung and missed at the first three balls, and the penultimate delivery. But balls four and six were in the slot and Thomas, who is not available for South Africa and classified as a white player due to CSA shenanigans, duly put them away for maximums.
The Titans were on fire in the field and accurate with the ball as they restricted the Knights to 144 for six
The Knights, having been sent into bat because the Titans prefer chasing on their home turf, were on their knees on 89 for five after 13 overs, but McLaren stuck around long enough to provide a decent finish to the innings with his great effort of 42 not out off 28 balls.
The early pressure on the Knights came from the fielders, not the bowlers, as the first three wickets fell to superb catches.
The free-scoring Rilee Rossouw had blazed his way to 16 off 10 balls when he swung Ethy Mbhalati low and flat to the deep square-leg boundary, but Van der Merwe came haring around and dived to take a super catch. On any other day, it would have been the catch-of-the-match, but Morkel stole the limelight with two even better efforts of his own.
Thomas had just come back on from the West Lane End when Van Wyk (10) mistimed a drive off the bottom of the bat and Morkel, on the circle at deep mid-on, dived to his left to take a great catch.
The Knights were just starting to get back on top again as Reeza Hendricks and Dean Elgar added 46 for the third wicket off 40 balls, and the left-handed Elgar must have felt he had collected a nice Christmas present boundary when he bashed left-arm spinner Van der Merwe straight down the ground. But that was before the advent of the flying Morkel, who ran round from long-on and dived full-length to take a miraculous one-handed catch just inside the boundary rope.
The sensational catch meant Elgar was out for a composed 17, and a top-class delivery from off-spinner Eden Links then accounted for Hendricks three balls later.
Hendricks, a fine young talent, had scored a polished 35 off 30 balls when Links ripped a delivery from outside off stump into his leg-stump to beat a drive.
The outlook looked even more gloomy for the Knights when Ryan Bailey (6) was incorrectly given out lbw sweeping at leg-spinner Du Plessis, having bottom-edged the ball into his pad.
Not even a sixth-wicket stand of 47 off 38 balls between McLaren and Werner Coetsee (15) could dampen the confident, expectant atmosphere at SuperSport Park, with wicketkeeper Kuhn pulling off a sharp stumping to dismiss Coetsee and give Van der Merwe his second wicket.
Van der Merwe finished with 2-39, but fellow spinner Links was the best of the Titans bowlers with 1-20 in his four overs.
The consistent Thomas bowled well to finish with 1-27, while Mbhalati took 1-11 in two overs with the newish ball.