/ 21 February 2008

Titans stutter to victory

A career-best 68 by Jaco Booysen helped the Titans to maintain their unbeaten record as they stuttered to a one wicket victory over the Warriors in their MTN domestic championship match at Supersport Park on Wednesday.

It was an unconvincing performance by the log leaders, but Booysen had the kind of match schoolboys dream of. He came in with his team in trouble on 75 for four, and took the Titans to within one run of victory.

Chasing 222 to win, the Titans got off to a reasonable start, with an opening partnership of 55 between Heino Kuhn and Gulam Bodi, before Bodi was caught behind by Davy Jacobs of Sinethemba Mjekula for 26.

The Titans then suffered a collapse, losing the next four wickets for 65 runs. Kuhn was caught by Davy Jacobs off Mjekula for 26, and four balls later, Mjekula claimed his third wicket, when Roelof van der Merwe was caught by Arno Jacobs for 13.

Francois ”Faf” du Plessis went next ball, caught by Juan Theron off Lonwabo Tsotsobe for one. Farhaan Behardien and Jacob Booysen put on 44 for the fifth wicket before Behardien was caught by Davy Jacobs off Lyall Meyer for 19.

Twenty-two-year-old Booysen, who was brought into the team after Martin van Jaarsveld suffered a groin strain during the pre-match warm-up, and Albie Morkel shared a sixth wicket stand of 81 — a record for the Titans — to take the home side close to victory. Morkel was bowled by Theron for 43.

With just 22 runs needed for victory, Booysen was joined by his captain, Pierre Joubert, but Joubert made just one run before being given out leg before wicket to Theron. Booysen took the score to 221, but Theron set Titans hearts a-flutter when he took two wickets in three balls and it appeared that victory was slipping away. However, Ethy Mbhalati scraped the winning run with 19 balls to spare.

Theron finished with figures of four for 50 off eight overs and five balls.

Earlier, HD Ackerman and Arno Jacobs shared a second wicket stand of 132 to help the Warriors to a competitive total of 221 for nine, after Michael Smith was dismissed for one in the third over. Jacobs reached his 16th limited overs 50 off 79 balls, and Ackerman his 38th off 67.

Pakistan import Imran Tahir broke the partnership when Jacobs was caught behind by Kuhn for 78. Ackerman was next to go, leg before wicket to Du Plessis for a stylish 62. However, once Ackerman and Jacobs had gone, the rest of the Warriors, with the exception of Davy Jacobs, battled to get runs on the board. Davy Jacobs made 33 and Justin Kreusch made 13, but none of the others managed to get into

double figures.

Mbhalati was the pick of the bowlers, with two for 21 off his nine overs, while Tahir took three for 39. Van der Merwe took two for 47 and Pierre Joubert and Du Plessis claimed a wicket each. – Sapa