Half-centuries from captain JJ Smuts and openers Lesiba Ngoepe and Gihahn Cloete helped Warriors inflict an eight-wicket defeat on Multiply Titans at Supersport Park to book their spot in the final of the Momentum One-Day Cup.
Despite having topped the points table in the league round, Titans had to bow out after a meek surrender. Opting to field, the Warriors bowlers restricted them to a mere 230 before the top-three nearly polished off the chase amongst themselves.
Titans were off to a slow but steady start with the openers putting on a 47-run stand before calamity struck. Both opening batsmen fell in the space of four overs and even before they could recover, they lost Dean Elgar with the team’s score under 100. The team could never really recover from the quick wickets, and lost five more at regular intervals. All of Titans’ top five got starts, but neither could go past the 30-run mark.
Farhaan Behardien helped the side to a respectable total with his fifty. Coming in to bat at 115 for 4, he contributed a solid 57 off 67 balls to take his team past the 200-run mark. But no consistent support from the other end meant Titans fell short of reaching a challenging total. Behardien’s was the ninth wicket, and the last pair could add only nine more as Titans folded for 230 in 49.4 overs.
Warriors’ innings was in sharp contrast to that of Titans. Ngoepe (69) and Cloete (56) put on 115 runs for the opening partnership in little over 17 overs before the opposition could get a breakthrough. By then, however, the openers’ destructive hitting had ensured the match was well out of Titans’ grasp.
Ngoepe carried on, in the company of skipper Smuts, but couldn’t convert his half-century in a hundred. He fell for a 64-ball 69 that contained half a dozen hits to the fence and two over it. Smuts took charge then on, hammering an unbeaten 74 off just 60 deliveries to take his side over the line with more than 15 overs to spare. Smut’s unbeaten knock included 11 boundaries and a six. He hit the winning runs in the 35th over to send Titans packing.