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January 26, 2009
Defending Pro20 champions, the Titans, were humbled in the opening game of this year's tournament as they crashed to an 81-run defeat against the Warriors at Port Elizabeth. Davey Jacobs lifted the home side to a useful 169 for 5 with 71 off 46 balls, being especially brutal in the final two overs as he launched five sixes. After an opening stand of 34 the Titans folded as Andrew Birch, a 23-year-old seamer, claimed four wickets, including the key pair of Martin van Jaarsveld and Faf du Plessis in consecutive balls.
Two days later, though, the Warriors were on the receiving end of a record-equalling 41-ball century by Henry Davids as the Cape Cobras opened their campaign with a narrow four-run success in a high scoring match at Newlands. Davids' final score of 112 off 48 balls was the highest in Pro20 and he added 116 in 10 overs with debutant Derek Brand (68). However, the Warriors made an impressive attempt to chase down 208 with Colin Ingram smashing 84 off 52 balls and Robin Petersen hit 52 off 29 deliveries. Ingram and Davey Jacobs added 94 in eight overs and the Warriors needed 16 off eight balls, but both batsmen fell in consecutive balls to Charl Langeveldt and 14 off the last over proved too much.
The Dolphins put in an impressive show against the Eagles as they completed a 68-run victory in Bloemfontein. Grant Rowley and HD Ackerman plundered 142 for the first wicket in 17 overs, Rowley 88 off 65 balls and Ackerman an unbeaten 82 off 51. The Eagles were never really in the chase as wickets fell regularly with legspinner Daryn Smit claiming three wickets.
The Eagles bounced back against the Lions in Johannesburg with a hard-earned eight-run success. Morne van Wyk was the catalyst behind the victory with a 89 off 64 balls as he batted through the innings. He added 97 with Ryan Bailey, who fell to a brilliant one-handed catch by Robbie Frylinck. The Lions chase started badly as they slipped to 11 for 2 and soon lost Jonathan Vandiar to injury after he slipped trying for a sharp single. Dillon du Preez and Ryan McLaren used all their experience as the Lions couldn't quite maintain the asking rate and McLaren kept the below the required 12 from the final over.
Rain denied the Titans a chance at a favourable run chase at Centurion Park after they had restricted the Dolphins to 121 for 9. Ethy Mbhalati produced the outstanding figures of 2 for 6 from his four overs, while the spinners also proved very effective.
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