Returning stars fire Titans top


Chris Morris and AB de Villiers made telling contributions on their return to the domestic scene as the Titans surged to the top of the MODC table with a seven-wicket bonus-point win over the Warriors in Benoni.

Fast bowler Morris (3/32) and fellow Proteas star Lungi Ngidi (3/30) shared six wickets first up as the visitors were bundled out for 147 – the lowest score for any side this season – in 41.2 overs at Willowmoore Park.

National captain De Villiers then clubbed 75 (62 balls, 10 fours, 1 six) to take his side to victory with over 20 overs to spare.

It was a massive win in the context of the season and propelled the host to the top of the standings with just a single game, at home to bottom side Cape Cobras, to come on Thursday. They are now in pole position to end in the No. 1 spot, which will give them an automatic ticket to the March 31 final.

For the visitors it was a disappointing Human Rights Day as they slipped out of the play-off positions after the VKB Knights beat the Highveld Lions by four runs to go ahead of them.

The day, though, did start well when captain Jon-Jon Smuts won the toss and chose to bat first. But they were three down with only 18 on the board as Morris and Ngidi cut up the top order. A 66-run fourth-wicket stand of 66 between Smuts and Yaseen Vallie got things slightly back on track, before the skipper edged a Malusi Siboto delivery down the leg side and was caught by wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn for 39.

Vallie top-scored with 44, but there was little else resistance as the men from the Eastern Cape fell in a rush. Junior Dala also excelled with 2/26.

Andrew Birch (2/37) took out Jonathan Vandiar (1) early, but Kuhn and Aiden Markram struck 23 each to keep the Titans in control.

By the time both fell it was 61/3, but De Villiers and Farhaan Behardien (24) added an unbroken 87 for the fourth wicket to give the Titans victory with 131 balls to spare.