THE Unlimited Titans gave their Momentum One-Day Cup campaign a kiss of life as they beat the bizhub Highveld Lions by 38 runs at SuperSport Park on Sunday.
With the Chevrolet Warriors edging out the Sunfoil Dolphins in the day’s other game, the Titans will qualify for the play-off if they win their last two games - against the Chevrolet Knights and the Warriors - and the Dolphins lose their last game at home to the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
Although that remains a big ‘if’, there was nothing iffy about their performance on Sunday as senior batsmen, Henry Davids and Farhaan Behardien, came to the party with big scores, ensuring that the Lions spent most of the match on the back foot.
Another stand-out performance with the ball from spinner Eddie Leie (3 for 41) and an innings of 88 from Rassie van der Dussen did allow the Lions a moment of promise in either innings, but ultimately the class of Davids and Behardien proved telling.
Davids’ run-a-ball 95 anchored the Titans innings after they were inserted, and by the time he had been brilliantly caught behind by Thami Tsolekile with three figures in sight, Behardien was coming into his own.
Behardien flourished in the final 10 overs of the innings, adding 55 runs to his own score to finish on 113 not out from just 93 deliveries as the Titans posted 302 for six.
With the sun now out and the pitch improving, the target did not look beyond the Lions as Van der Dussen and Alviro Petersen took them to 71 for one in the opening power play, but the spin duo of Roelof van der Merwe and Shaun von Berg then found purchase and began to reel the visitors in.
Van der Merwe accounted for both Petersen and Temba Bavuma, and after part-timer Davids had dismissed Jean Symes, Von Berg got the big wicket of Van der Dussen and picked up two further wickets in his next over.
With the Lions 227 for seven with eight overs remaining, the only question remaining was whether the Titans could wrap up the tail in quick time and grab a bonus point.
It was not to be, as the Lions dragged the innings out to reach 264 all out in the final over, with Van der Merwe finishing with figures of 4 for 40 from his 10 overs.