van der Merwe helps Titans clinch title
Titans 269 for 6 (Behardien 59*, van der Merwe 52) beat Warriors (Kreusch 63, Ackerman 62, van der Merwe 4-42, Joubert 3-52) by 38 runs
Roelef van der Merwe followed up a fifty with four wickets as the Titans clinched the MTN Domestic Championship with a 38-run win over the Warriors in the final in Centurion. The Titans were the leaders after the group stage of the tournament, which helped them edge out Cape Cobras after the semi-final - also in Centurion - between the two sides was washed out.
Warriors put Titans in to bat, and the top-order batsmen built a solid foundation. The openers added 44 in nine overs, and van der Merwe put on a 79-run third-wicket stand along with Francois du Plessis. van der Merwe hit two sixes off Robin Peterson, but holed out to deep midwicket for 52, which came off 58 balls.
Peterson struck again with the wicket of Martin van Jaarsveld, but an unbeaten 31-ball 59 from Farhaan Behardien boosted the Titans to 269 for 6, their highest total in the tournament. For the Warriors, Juan Theron, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, was the pick of the bowlers - with 2 for 36 off his nine overs.
Both the Warriors openers scored 60s in reply; Hylton Ackerman hit 11 fours in his 62 in an opening stand of 80, which took only 13.3 overs. His partner, Justin Kreusch, made a patient 63 off 86 balls, but the Titans managed to chip away with wickets at the other end. Arno Jacobs, the top run-getter, fell to Albie Morkel for 1, and when Kreusch was dismissed by Titans captain Pierre Joubert, the Warriors were at 174 for 5, needing another 96 from 59 deliveries.
Johan Botha's quickfire 30 kept his side in the chase, but van der Merwe ended his innings, and removed Nos 10 and 11 as the Titans bowled the Warriors out for 231 in 42.4 overs, 39 runs short of their target. Joubert got rid of both the openers in his 3 for 52, while Man of the Match van der Merwe took 4 for 42 with his left-arm spin.
"I think we chased well, but we lost the way at a crucial time," Zander de Bruyn, the Warriors' captain, said after the game. Joubert hailed his team for their consistency through the campaign. "Our preparations were not ideal as we were distracted by rain, but we don't have any control on the weather," he said. "Our self-belief carried us through. It is important for us to keep on believing in ourselves going forward. We need now to re-focus our attention on the Pro20 Series."
The teams will feature in the Standard Bank Pro20 Series, which begins on March 25.