Coach Rob Walter was obviously a delighted man on Monday, the pleasure of seeing all his plans finally come together in the Sunfoil Series just adding to the joy of getting engaged recently to the girl of his dreams and the satisfaction of seeing Albie Morkel and Farhaan Behardien back in the national squad.
“It was the type of performance that I knew we could produce. For the first time the bowlers really worked as a unit, stuck to the plan and were able to hold their skills for a long time.
“I was very chuffed, it was a significant performance and the most important part of it was the way we played in different, crucial phases of the game,” Walter told The Pretoria News yesterday.
While it was a solid team effort that earned them victory over the previous log-leaders, CJ de Villiers, Shaun von Berg, David Wiese and debutant Vincent Moore were the stars for the Titans.
De Villiers, chosen in the team for his bowling, scored crucial half-centuries in each innings. The seamer top-scored with 57 in the first innings, combining with Moore (48) in a 106-run partnership for the last wicket that lifted the Titans to parity with the Knights.
The 27-year-old then came in as a nightwatchman and made 52 not out to take the Titans to a tricky little target of 156 on the final day.
“For CJ to make a fifty in the first innings at number 10 and then back it up was awesome. That partnership with Vincent got us back in the game and I was especially pleased with his application because it’s easy to bat like a number 10 in those situations,” Walter said.
In terms of the bowling, the match brought outstanding figures of 10 for 129, including a career-best seven for 66 in the second innings, for leg-spinner Von Berg, a five-wicket haul in the first innings for Wiese and a highly-encouraging match analysis of four for 87 for Moore, the 19-year-old left-arm quick.
“David bowled superbly well in the first innings and Vincent bowled really nicely too. He got the key wicket of Rilee Rossouw in the first innings at a key time and consistently executed his skills,” Walter said.
But it was Von Berg who the coach was most excited about, the 27-year-old producing a potentially career-defining performance on a pitch that did begin to turn towards the end of the game.
“It was as well as I’ve seen Shaun bowl, a top-class effort. I’m very hesitant to tag players and expect too much, too early from them, but if he can consistently do what he did over the weekend, then he’ll be a candidate for higher honours.
“He never struggles to turn the ball, but he nailed his pace and where to land the ball and he bowled around the wicket exceptionally well,” Walter said.