Morne Morkel bagged four wickets for 19 runs as the Chevrolet Knights slumped to 132-7 in their do-or-die clash in the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge at Chevrolet Park on Tuesday.
The Titans won the toss and elected to field first with their decision paying its dividends early on as Morkel was excellent up front, picking up two wickets for seven runs in his opening two overs to help restrict the hosts to a nominal total.
Michael Erlank, replacing Loots Bosman at the top of the order, was the first to fall caught by Titans' skipper Henry Davids at the end of the second over as Morkel started his wicket crusade.
Danger man Rilee Rossouw followed soon after, edging through to Heino Kuhn behind the stumps and the hosts were struggling at 7-2 after 3.1 overs.
PJ van Biljon managed to hang around for a little while, contributing
26 off 29, before he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Roelof van der Merwe, but the Knights struggled to get the ball off the square and get runs on the board.
Dean Elgar was the next to go, caught by van der Merwe after Davids had broughth imself into the attack and after 13 overs, the Knights looked stuck at 66-4.
Ryan McLaren couldn't quite replicate his pinch-hitting prowess from his international stint and it was Morkel who struck again, foxing McLaren with the slower ball and Mangaliso Mosehle took a good catch above his head to send McLaren on his way for 8 off 11.
Things continued to fall apart for the Knights as confusion between Obus Pienaar and Johan van der Wath resulted in a runout. Van der Wath jetting off for a single and attempted the second and Pienaar ended up run out as the hosts stuttered to 104-5.
Morkel continued his fierce form and picked up his fourth wicket of the match as Gihahn Coete fell, holing out to Albie Morkel.
Van der Wath clung on until the end, whacking 19 off 12 balls to help spare his side some blushes, but a modest total of which the Titans should make light work.
The match is crucial for both sides as a playoff spot and a potential home-final is up for grabs. However, the Knights are in tricky position after the match between the Sunfoil Dolphins and the Chevrolet Warriors was rained off, gifting the PE-based franchise two points. This puts them third on the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge log, with a game still in hand meaning the Knights have to win in order to have any hope of progressing to the play offs.
The Titans, meanwhile, could earn a spot at the top of the log with a win and will remain there until the bizhub Lions and the Dolphins square off on Thursday.
CHEVROLET KNIGHTS: Michael Erlank, Rilee Rossouw, Dean Elgar, PJ van Biljon, Obus Pienaar, Gihahn Cloete, Nicky Boje, Johan van der Wath, Ryan McLaren, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Malusi Siboto
NASHUA TITANS: Henry Davids, Heino Kuhn, Roelof van der Merwe, Mangaliso Mosehle, Scott Styris, Farhaan Behardien, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Alfonso Thomas, Eden Links, Morne Morkel