Cape Cobras v Titans, 2nd semi-final, Standard Bank Pro20, Cape Town April 20, 2008

Titans through despite Duminy heroics

Ken Borland

Titans 158 for 7(du Plessis 44, Behardien 32*, Duminy 4-24) beat Cape Cobras 152 for 6 (Smith 34, Duminy 52) by six runs
Scorecard

The Morkel brothers and Roelof van der Merwe starred in the field for the Titans as they beat the Cape Cobras by six runs in their Standard Bank Pro20 semi-final at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.

Francois du Plessis (44) and Farhaan Behardien (32 not out) shone with the bat for the Titans as they scored 158 for 7 after deciding to bat first. Graeme Smith (34) was tearing into the Titans bowling before van der Merwe brilliantly ran out the national captain. The cunning bowling of Albie Morkel and the pace and fire of Morne Morkel then ensured the home side were left with a mountain to climb.

JP Duminy motored to a half-century as he and Henry Davids (17) shifted gears to give the Cobras a late shout. They needed 16 off the last over, bowled by left-arm spinner van der Merwe, and although Davids sent the first delivery back over the bowler's head for six, they were to fall short as the rookie star removed both batsmen courtesy of well-judged catches by Behardien.

The Titans innings had earlier been robbed of crucial momentum when du Plessis, who scored his 44 off just 34 balls, was adjudged to be run-out by third umpire Karl Hurter, a decision which certainly did not concur with the images shown on public TV.

Duminy took 4 for 24 and was the chief beneficiary of some frantic hitting at the death, but the Cobras bowlers in general were fortunate to escape without more severe punishment. Albie Morkel scored 12 and AB de Villiers 28, both at little more than a run-a-ball, but Behardien saw to it that the Titans posted a competitive score with his 18-ball whirlwind innings.

The Cobras began their chase in fierce style with Smith and Andrew Puttick (25) putting on 54 off 40 balls for the first wicket. But the home side will be angry that they lost their two key batsmen, Smith and Herschelle Gibbs (6) to run-outs.

van der Merwe, who is a real warrior on the field, swooped on a Smith push into the covers and, on the turn, speared his throw into the non-striker's stumps. Gibbs took off for a single after Pierre Joubert dropped a fierce drive off Duminy, but the Titans captain was able to regather the ball and return it to the wicketkeeper before the enigmatic international star could get home.

The Cobras were looking decidedly ill when Tyron Henderson (8) was caught off Albie Morkel to leave them on 96 for 4 after 14 overs, needing another 63 runs off 36 balls. Duminy and Davids mounted a dramatic late charge, but it was not enough and the Titans are now off to Natal to take on the Dolphins in Friday's final.