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Ken Borland

Cobras bowlers tie down Titans brilliantly at death

Posted on November 26, 2014 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans were brilliantly tied down in the closing overs by the Nashua Cape Cobras bowlers as the coastal side won their RamSlam T20 Challenge match by 14 runs at the Wanderers on Sunday.

With both openers blazing 72 off 48 balls, the Titans required just 56 runs from the last five overs with nine wickets in hand. But with Kieron Pollard and Mthokozisi Shezi mixing up their pace superbly, the Cobras reached the last two overs with 34 runs to defend.

Dane Paterson and Lizaad Williams both produced excellent closing overs and the Titans finished on a disappointing 193 for four, scoring just 41 runs and losing three wickets in the last five overs.

The Cobras’ total of 207 for five, after being sent in to bat, was inspired by two superb innings by Richard Levi and Pollard.

Levi was in sublime touch and ruthless mood as he opened the batting and hammered 81 off just 34 balls. In the fifth over, bowled by JP de Villiers, Levi hit four successive fours and then completed the over with consecutive sixes, taking 28 runs in all off the unfortunate seamer and raising his half-century off just 22 balls.

Twenty-one runs came off left-arm paceman Rowan Richards in the sixth over, Levi hitting the last four balls for six, four, four and six, and the Titans were in dire straits when Davids wisely turned to spin.

Roelof van der Merwe bowled two overs for 11 runs but it was fellow orthodox left-armer Dean Elgar who made the crucial breakthrough, claiming a steepling return catch from Levi.

Further breakthroughs would come for the Titans as Omphile Ramela (12) was well-caught by Van der Merwe running from midwicket off Elgar, who then bowled Justin Ontong first ball as the Cobras captain unwisely tried to reverse-sweep a quicker, flatter delivery.

Elgar finished with outstanding figures of three for 20 off four overs and could well find himself getting more regular employment as a bowler by the Titans.

It was overseas pro Pollard who earned his keep in the final overs, slamming 72 not out off just 36 balls, with six fours and four sixes, the last five overs proving fertile for the Cobras as 64 runs were scored.

Dane Vilas used some cute deflections to score 19 and help Pollard add 65 for the fifth wicket off 44 deliveries.

The Titans’ run-chase began sedately, but steadily picking up speed and although there was none of the frenetic bashing of Levi, Davids and Elgar kept up the required rate. In fact, the crowd was most animated when a teenager in the eastern stand claimed a one-handed catch off an Elgar six to seemingly qualify for the R1 million cash pool. He was subsequently disqualified, however, because he was under 18 and there are bound to be numerous opinions aired over RamSlam’s lengthy and stringent criteria for the prize. Suffice to say that they don’t seem to want to encourage children to come to the games, which is bizarre behaviour for a sponsor.

Davids and Elgar raised 50 in the sixth over and their century stand was up in the 10th over, as the left-hander went to a 31-ball half-century, with two fours and four sixes.

Davids hit six fours and a six as he reached his fifty off just 28 deliveries and everything seemed to be going wrong for the Cobras when Ontong had Davids caught in the deep on 63, but had over-stepped.

It was Pollard who bowled the Cobras back into the game when he had Elgar caught by Ontong running in from long-on in the 15th over and then removed Davids as well in the 17th over, a slower bouncer coming off the glove and being caught behind.

That brought Darren Sammy in to face his West Indian team-mate but the overseas pro lasted just two balls before he also fell to the slower-ball bouncer, paddling it to short fine-leg, where Shezi dived to take the catch.

Pollard finished with a top-class three for 22 in his four overs and with Shezi bowling a fine over in between, the Titans had suddenly lost all momentum.

Mangaliso Mosehle launched a massive six out of the ground, but a degree of panic had set in and Theunis de Bruyn (13) skied a catch into the covers for George Linde to calmly take off Paterson.

A brilliant opening stand fizzled out into a lame finish for the Titans.

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