PORT ELIZABETH: A bludgeoning 46 from 17 deliveries by Albie Morkel guided the Nashua Titans to their first RAM SLAM T20 Challenge victory of the season as they ousted the Chevrolet Warriors by five wickets at Axxess St George’s on Friday.
The hard-hitting Proteas all-rounder struck three sixes and five fours in his knock, helping the visitors recover from a precarious position of 61 for five in pursuit of a lowly 121 and reach the winning target with 11 deliveries to spare.
Earlier, Eden Links had led a sterling bowling display by the Nashua Titans, taking three for 13. He was given good support by Proteas paceman Marchant de Lange (2-28) and David Wiese (2-13).
The Chevrolet Warriors did not help themselves by losing wickets in clusters and it was only thanks to Simon Harmer’s unbeaten 39 that they managed to get past 100.
The Nashua Titans had taken full advantage of their decision to bowl first after winning the toss, with De Lange striking in the third over to dismiss Christiaan Jonker, the hero of the Chevrolet Warriors’ opening victory.
He was caught by Morkel at third man for 10, before Ashwell Prince (four) followed in the next over when he was caught at deep backward square leg by Links.
Two overs later, Morkel entered the wickets column when he cleaned up Davy Jacobs for five, leaving the hosts on 33 for three.
Colin Ingram (10), Wayne Parnell (two) and Craig Thyssen (nine) were all dismissed during Links’ excellent spell that helped the Nashua Titans turn the screw and leave their opponents reeling on 50 for six in the 12th over.
Adrian McLaren and Harmer then managed to give the innings a small degree of respectability during a 42-run stand that took the total to 92.
Wiese ended the stand when he cleaned up the former and also made a mess of Ayabulela Gqamane’s stumps within the space of two deliveries, leaving the Eastern Cape franchise in even more trouble.
But Andrew Birch (20 not out) put on 28 with Harmer at the end to help set the Nashua Titans a target of 121.
The Nashua Titans made a dreadful start to the reply, losing Henry Davids (one) and Roelof van der Merwe (nought) with only three on the board as Birch struck early.
Jacques Rudolph (15) was then the first of three wickets to fall to the spin of Harmer, who ended with three for 28. The slow bowler’s spell also yielded the wickets of Martin van Jaarsveld (25) and Mangaliso Mosehle (15).
But Morkel struck his second and third ball off Harmer for six and four to get his innings rolling. He then planted Birch for successive sixes two overs later and, aided by Farhaan Behardien (16 not out), took the Nashua Titans to their first win in three games.