Titans defend 136 to be crowned champions
Titans were crowned South Africa's first-class champions after a ten-run win over Cobras in three days in Paarl
Titans were crowned South Africa's first-class champions after a 10-run win over Cobras inside three days. Titans, who topped the points table going into the final weekend, ensured they stayed there despite an early scare in Paarl.
Cobras were bowled out for 164 in their first innings after Wayne Parnell, who took 12 for 105 against Dolphins last week, added another five-for this week. Parnell had assistance from right-arm pacer Dane Paterson, who took three wickets, while Vernon Philander bowled a typically strangling eight overs.
For a while it looked like Cobras would squander the advantage as they slumped to 51 for 4, but Omphile Ramela, the captain, and Cebo Tshiki put on a fifth-wicket stand of 95, before Parnell added to his accolades with 59 to put Cobras in the lead. They were bowled out for 285, thereby taking a 121-run lead.
Enter Heino Kuhn. After becoming only the sixth South African to record 1000 runs in a first-class season, he wiped out the deficit as his team-mates were outspun by Dane Piedt. The offspinner took 7 for 106, with the only other Titans' batsman to cross 30 being Henry Davids, the captain. That set Cobras a target of 136, which they defended against the odds.
Cobras would have fancied their chances even as they stumbled to 74 for 4. But when they lost Dane Vilas, Parnell and Philander in the space of two overs to slip to 87 for 7, the fight fizzled out. They were dismissed for 125, with Rowan Richards, who finished with 7 for 40, the hero of the second innings.
Titan's nearest challengers, Lions , who were in second place, all but bowed out of the race on the first day as they were bowled out for 68, with Sisanda Magala, the pacer, taking 6 for 25. They eventually lost by an innings and 101 runs to Warriors .
Hardus Viljoen gave Lions the perfect start with a wicket off the first ball in Warriors' reply, but their small total was always going to make things difficult. Although Viljoen ended with a five-for, half-centuries from Colin Ackermann, Somila Seyibokwe and Simon Harmer, the captain, ensured they took a 307-run first-innings lead.
On the evidence of Lions' first innings, Warriors would have felt confident of an innings win. With Lions 61 for 4 in reply, that confidence wasn't misplaced. Nicky van den Bergh resisted with 52, but all they managed was to take the game into the third day. They were bowled out for 206 to give Warriors an innings and 101-run victory and a second successive win to end an otherwise barren summer.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent