Titans v Lions, Standard Bank Pro20 Series, Centurion April 9, 2004

Rowley powers Lions to victory

Lions 145 for 6 (Rowley 69*) beat Titans 135 for 8 (Cullinan 40*) by 10 runs

The second game of the Standard Bank PRO20 Series between the Titans and the Lions, at SuperSport Park, resulted in a thrilling encounter, with the Lions trumping their opponents by only 10 runs.

Winning the toss, Daryll Cullinan, the new Titans captain, put the Lions in to bat on a hard flat surface. A good start of 13 off two overs was halted when Marthinus Otto and Adam Bacher fell off consecutive balls - the Bacher dismissal was a blinder with Alviro Petersen taking a brilliant low catch at backward point. Justin Ontong scored a slow 7, and his dismissal brought Hylton Ackerman and Grant Rowley to the crease. Together they took the total to 56 for 3 at the halfway mark of 10 overs. A 56-run partnership came to an end when Ackerman holed out to long-on for a run-a-ball 27. Vaughn van Jaarsveld made a brief visit to the crease before Derek Crookes flayed 15. Grant Rowley, however, was the hero for the Lions, scoring 69 off 45 balls and striking nine fours and a six. His effort helped the Lions to end on 145 for 6.

A combination of good bowling and conservative batting had the Titans struggling at 42 for 1 after 10 overs with Petersen losing his wicket early and Jacques Rudolph and Martin van Jaarsveld making heavy work of the conditions. The match turned on its head when, with the pressure mounting, van Jaarsveld tried to force the pace and was caught on the fence. Rudolph was run out off the very next ball, followed by Kemp - also run out without facing a ball. Three wickets in three balls left the Titans on 68 for 4 in the 13th over. A third run out, that of Albie Morkel, increased the pressure, which even a short flurry from Brendon Reddy did nothing to relieve. And when Goolam Bodi was run out, it was all over. Cullinan smashed the ball around, scoring 40 off 21 balls but in the end, the four run outs and the miserly bowling of Charl Langeveldt was just too much for the Titans.

It's two games down and 13 to go. On current evidence, there's still a lot of homework to be done to come to terms with this shorter version of the game. For the 7425 spectators, however, it was an evening of packaged entertainment and excitement and worth every cent of the entrance fee.