Miller, bowlers keep Knights' chances alive; Titans go top

David Miller's 86-ball 123 included seven fours and six sixes Associated Press

Centuries from opener Rassie van der Dussen (102 off 138 balls) and Dwaine Pretorius (115 off 79 balls) went in vain for Lions as they fell five short of the 312 target set by Knights in Kimberley. The win kept the Knights' knockout chances alive.

David Miller's unbeaten 86-ball 123, his third one-day hundred since February, had propelled Knights to 311 for 6 after they had elected to bat. Shadley van Schalkwyk then defended 16 off the last over, despite conceding a six first ball, to seal their win.

Van der Dussen had lost four partners by the 23rd over of the chase, and with Lions needing 210 runs off 167 deliveries, the opener was joined by Pretorius. They added 144 runs off 138 balls to keep the visitors in contention before van der Dussen was trapped in front by Dillon du Preez. Mulder (30* off 15) joined Pretorius - who struck eight fours and four sixes during his maiden List A century - and brought the equation down from 61 from 25 to 24 off the last two overs. Pretorious' dismisal in the 49th over dented the chase, however, and van Schalkwyk conceded only a single when six were required off the last ball.

Earlier, useful partnerships at the top helped Knights amass a challenging total. Opener Keegan Petersen hit five fours and a six in his patient knock of 75 but it was Miller whose rapid century - studded with seven fours and six sixes - helped them power past 300 with some support from the lower order. While he reached 50 in as many balls, he took only 28 deliveries more to bring up his eighth List A hundred. Pretorius and Wihan Lubbe were the only two of seven Lions bowlers who conceded less than six per over.

Chris Morris and AB de Villiers made resounding returns to Momentum One Day Cup, as they helped Titans thump Warriors by seven wickets in the penultimate round-robin match of the tournament at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. Morris' 3 for 30 set the tone for Titans as they bowled Warriors out for 147 and Titans chased it down with 131 balls to spare, led by de Villiers' unbeaten 75, and claimed the top spot from Dolphins with six wins from nine matches ahead of the final set of games on Thursday.

Morris made his presence felt at the very outset, bowling Warriors opener Gihahn Cloete off the second ball of the match. Fellow fast bowler Lungi Ngidi (3 -32) further compounded Warriors' poor start, removing the two Colins - Ingram and Ackermann - with a double-strike in the sixth over. Captain JJ Smuts (39), the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, resisted Warriors' slide with a 66-run fourth-wicket partnership with Yaseen Vallie, whose 61-ball 44 pushed Warriors to 113 before Morris had him caught behind in the 30th over. Jerry Nqolo (26) and Andrew Birch (16) were the only two other batsmen to get into double figures as Warriors folded in 41.2 overs, with the last three wickets falling for seven runs.

In reply, Titans suffered the early loss of Jonathan Vandiar (1), but Aiden Markram and Heino Kuhn added 23 each, before de Villiers made short work of the chase, clobbering ten fours and one six on his way to a 62-ball 75. His unbeaten 87-run stand for the fourth wicket with Farhaan Behardien (24*) helped Titans chase down the target in 28.1 overs.

Titans are now placed at the top of the table, a spot that will guarantee a home final should they stay there after the last round of matches.