Despite seeming out of it after a collapsing to a lowly 123, a superb bowling performance led by paceman Marchant de Lange helped the Titans to a nail-biting four-run victory over the Brisbane Heat in Tuesday's Champions League Twenty20 Group B fixture at Mohali.
<b>Despite seeming out of it after a collapsing to a lowly 123, a superb bowling performance led by paceman Marchant de Lange helped the Titans to a nail-biting four-run victory over the Brisbane Heat in Tuesday's Champions League Twenty20 Group B fixture at Mohali.</b>
Seemingly on course for a very competitive total after captain and opener Henry Davids and Heino Kuhn combined beautifully for a 69-run second wicket partnership, wickets soon started to tumble for the Titans – none more vital to Brisbane's hopes than that of AB de Villiers, whose run out in the 15th over with the score at 107-5 saw the South African side's momentum come to a crashing halt.
De Villiers departed for 28 and a complete capitulation was soon to follow, with six wickets falling for 16 runs as the Titans were dismissed for just 123 in the 19th over, well short of what they would have been targeting when AB was still at the crease.
Debutant Matthew Gale made the most of his opportunity, returning with incredible figures of 4 for 10 in 2.5 overs.
Brisbane were soon reduced to 24/3 in the fifth over as the Titans, spearheaded by de Lange who bagged two wickets in the space of three balls, set about defending a small total with aplomb.
Captain James Hopes was still at the crease, however, and added 60 runs with Daniel Christian and then Chris Lynn as Brisbane fought back and moved closer to the small total – albeit not at any great pace.
The Titans bowlers were keeping their team in the match with some tight bowling, never allowing the opposition to get into a comfortable position.
When Hopes was dismissed for 37 off 44 at the start of the 17th over, the match seemed to swing in the Titans' favour, with Brisbane still 39 runs short of the target with only 23 balls and five wickets remaining.
A superb little cameo of 19 runs off just seven deliveries from Chris Sabburg seemed as if it might help carry Brisbane over the line, but he was run out along with Nathan Hauritz in the space of a few balls of the final over as the Australians tried desperately to force the issue and attempt runs that simply weren't there for the taking.
De Lange capped his superb performance of 3 for 13 by clean bowling Alister McDermott in the final ball of the match and denying Brisbane the 10 runs they needed off the last six.
Brisbane Heat are now in trouble with two losses from their first two games, while the Titans pick up a much needed victory after losing their opener against Chennai.
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