SuperSport Series

Titans win third SuperSport title

Cricinfo staff

April 5, 2009

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Jacques Rudolph reached his hundred before falling to Usman Afzaal, Surrey v Yorkshire, County Championship, The Oval, May 23, 2008
Jacques Rudolph: A brave century in the Lions' attempt at an unlikely win © Getty Images
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The Titans were officially crowned SuperSport Series Champions for the 2008-09 season during the tea break on day three, and their match against the Lions ended in a draw a day later in Johannesburg. Their nearest challengers, the Eagles, didn't manage to pick up the necessary points needed to usurp the Titans, even though they beat the Dolphins by eight wickets with more than two days to spare.

By stumps on day three the Lions led by 251 with eight wickets in hand, and on the fourth morning Alviro Petersen smacked his second century of the game before the Lions declared on 167 for 2 in 38 overs. With the title already settled, the Titans went about their stiff target of 333 in 76 at a brisk clip, led by Jacques Rudolph. Despite the loss of the openers Heino Kuhn (27) and Blake Snijman (15) to Freidel de Wet and later Gulam Bodi for 5, Rudolph ticked away undaunted. He found good support from Francois du Plessis but the target was always out of reach. Rudolph finished on 124 from 146 balls and du Plessis 65 from 77.

Winning the toss, the Lions racked up a formidable 526 for 9 with Petersen hitting 129 and Dane Vilas 203 off 295 balls. They then reduced the Titans to 126 for 4 on by stumps on day two but Farhaan Behardien's 114 off 172 balls enabled the Titans avoid the follow-on. Berhardien brought up his 11th first-class half-century off 114 balls before he tore into the Lions' bowling attack; he needed just 35 balls for his second 50. He and his captain, Pierre Joubert, added 160 for the sixth wicket. Joubert hit 71 from 145 balls, his 15th first-class fifty, before he was bowled by de Wet.

This is the third time the Titans have lifted the trophy and it caps off another successful season for them. "It has been awesome, last year when we won two trophies it was a bit of a dream, but to repeat that feat this season has been fabulous," said Joubert. "It has been a team effort, everyone contributed. When the chips were down there was always someone who came in and played well."

Going back to the Eagles' crushing win over the Dolphins by eight wickets inside two days in Kimberley. Set a target of 93 in the final session, the Eagles needed just 22 overs to seal victory, with the opener Reeza Hendricks hitting 42 off 49 balls and Boeta Dippenaar 37 off 57 deliveries. The Dolphins trailed by 73 when the day began and folded for 175 in 50 overs. The main contributor to that poor effort was Jon Kent, with a battling 64 off 95 balls. The promising 19-year-old left-arm fast bowler Obus Pienaar, who took 4 for 46 in the Dolphin's poor first-innings 132, picked up 4 for 40 in the second. From a dismal match, the one positive the Dolphins could take was the efforts of of Kyle Abbott, the 21-year-old allrounder. His 50 was the highest score in the first innings and he followed it with for 4 for 40 in the Eagles' innings of 215. He added two quick wickets in the second innings too.

The Warriors beat the Cobras with more than a day to spare in East London, there by tightening their hold on the No. 3 spot. Darryl Brown and Zander de Bruyn shared eight wickets to dismiss the Cobras for a paltry 74 in their second innings - far worse than the 124 put up in the first dig - and seal a whopping 236-run win. The Warriors were bowled out for 197 in their second innings with Davy Jacobs scoring 101 off 153 balls. That left the Cobras an unlikely 311 to win, and Brown and de Bruyn took four wickets each. Earlier, having been put into bat, the Cobras had done well to keep the Warriors to 237 thanks to seven wickets from Claude Henderson. But five from Andrew Birch then gave the Warriors a 113-run lead. It proved a handy lead.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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