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Ken Borland

Titans fail to take full advantage of dry, brown pitch

Posted on April 04, 2014 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans won the toss and batted first on a dry, brown pitch at SuperSport Park yesterday, but failed to take full advantage of the friendly conditions, scoring 268 for six on the first day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Warriors.

The total was built around two impressive partnerships: opener Theunis de Bruyn and captain Henry Davids adding 108 in two hours for the second wicket, and debutant Grant Thomson and rookie Cobus Pienaar putting on 73 off 160 balls for the sixth wicket.

Thomson and Pienaar steadied the Titans after they had lost three wickets for 11 runs, batting for just over an hour-and-a-half, but Thomson was unable to see off the second new ball, edging Basheer Walters to third slip to fall for 40, a tenacious innings that was most valuable to his team.

The Titans have spent much of the campaign in inward reflection over their batting failures, but they seemed set to produce a sizeable total in their last game of the season as Theunis de Bruyn and Henry Davids took them to 128 for one midway through the second session.

They came together after Ernest Kemm had been dismissed for seven by Walters, and by lunch they had added 71 to take the total to 91 for one.

De Bruyn, the 21-year-old Tukkies star, has only previously played two T20 games for the Titans, scoring 53 not out on debut and then 23. He reached another half-century yesterday by hitting off-spinner Simon Harmer for three fours in his second over of the day.

De Bruyn, who played with impressive assurance in scoring 79 in just short of three hours at the crease, collecting 11 fours, mostly through the off-side, was eventually dismissed by the combination of a fine delivery from Walters and a brilliant one-handed catch by Ryan Bailey at slip.

Davids, for the first time in this campaign, looked like the king of the crease as he moved to 60 – his first half-century of the 2013/14 Sunfoil Series – off 116 balls before becoming over-confident and trying to drive Andrew Birch on the up.

The seamer was bowling from the West Lane End, from which deliveries holding up and popping off the pitch had been one of the features, and Davids’ ill-judged stroke merely presented a comfortable return catch to Birch.

Harmer then trapped Qaasim Adams lbw for 23 with a delivery that kept low – although the batsman should have been forward instead of back, and the Titans slipped to 180 for five when Mangaliso Mosehle was dismissed for just 3.

The ability of part-time left-arm spinner Jon-Jon Smuts to take important wickets has been one of the features of the Warriors season and he removed Mosehle with his fifth delivery, a well-executed arm-ball.

But Thomson, making his franchise debut, and Pienaar, playing just his seventh Sunfoil Series game, proved a powerful syndicate as they ensured that honours finished even after the first day.

Pienaar has done more than enough this season to ink his name into the Titans’ future plans, and the left-hander finished the day on 48 not out, also showing great determination.

Walters was the bowler who troubled the Titans’ batsmen the most, ending the day with fine figures of three for 36 in 18 overs.


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