Morkel blasts Titans to victory
An extraordinary big-hitting innings from Albie Morkel helped the Nashua Titans to an unlikely five-wicket win in their RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match against the Chevrolet Warriors at Axxess St George’s in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Full Scorecard – Warriors v Titans
Morkel, who came to the crease with his team in real trouble at 61 for five in pursuit of the Warriors' total of 120 for eight, blasted his way to 46 not out from just 17 deliveries courtesy of five fours and three sixes, and, with the help of Farhaan Behardien (16 not out), saw his team home with 11 balls to spare.
The Titans’ reply had got off to a terrible start as Andrew Birch (4-1-26-2) took two wickets with his first two deliveries at the start of the second over with just three on the board.
Jacques Rudolph (15) and Martin van Jaarsveld then looked to steady things for the visitors, but their partnership of 31 used up 47 deliveries, and with the required rate escalating, the pressure told as Rudolph was trapped in front by Simon Harmer (4-0-28-3) at the start of the tenth over.
Van Jaarsveld showed intent with a boundary off Ayabulela Gqamane (4-0-28-0) soon after his partner’s dismissal, but his hand of 25 came to an end the following over as he attempted a similar shot off Harmer and was well caught on the boundary; his team at that stage reduced to 56 for four in the 12th over.
Two overs later, Harmer was at it again as he had Mangaliso Mosehle caught on the boundary for 15, and the Titans were in disarray requiring 60 from 41 balls with just five wickets remaining.
However, the game was turned on its head with the arrival of Morkel, who smashed a six and a four in his first three deliveries. He inflicted yet more pain on the hosts two overs later, as he struck Birch for successive sixes and a four, and the Titans were suddenly in sight of victory with just 22 needed in the final four overs.
He and Behardien made no mistake from that point onward, and three successive lusty blows from the bat of Morkel in the 18th over helped to guide them safely over the line.
The pair ended up with an unbeaten stand of 60, while Harmer and Birch finished as the pick of the bowlers for the Warriors.
The Titans had earlier held sway in the bowling department after electing to field first, and made their first breakthrough at the end of the third over with the score on 13, as danger-man Christiaan Jonker (10) cut a wide delivery from Marchant de Lange (4-0-28-2) and was superbly caught at third man by Morkel.
It sparked a wretched collapse for the hosts, as De Lange struck again two overs later when he had Ashwell Prince (4) caught at square leg, before captain Davy Jacobs (5) had his bails trimmed by Morkel (4-0-12-1) in the seventh over to leave them at 33 for three.
Things went from bad to worse the following over though, as a double strike from offspinner Eden Links, who had opened the bowling for his side, accounted for both Wayne Parnell (2) and Colin Ingram (10), and it left the Warriors reeling at 36 for five.
Craig Thyssen (9) offered brief resistance as he brought up the 50 for his team in the 12th over, but he had his middle stump uprooted the very next delivery to become Links’s third victim of the evening.
The home crowd eventually had something to cheer about as Harmer arrived at the crease and immediately took the attack to the Titans bowlers, and two fours and two sixes from his increasingly rampant blade took the score to 90 for six by the end of the 16th over.
However, the Titans re-asserted their dominance on the contest as medium-pacer David Wiese struck twice in two balls. He first removed Harmer’s partner Adrian McLaren (9) when he played on, before new-man Gqamane did the same off the very next delivery.
Birch then joined Harmer at the crease with just over three overs to go, and a flurry of boundaries from him contributed to a 20-ball partnership of 28, which provided some much-needed impetus in the final overs to give the their team a reasonable total to defend.
CHEVROLET WARRIORS – Christiaan Jonker, Ashwell Prince, Colin Ingram, Davy Jacobs (capt), Adrian McLaren (wk), Wayne Parnell, Craig Thyssen, Simon Harmer, Rusty Theron, Andrew Birch, Ayabulela Gqamane.
NASHUA TITANS – Henry Davids (capt), Jacques Rudolph, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Martin van Jaarsveld, Farhaan Behardien, Albie Morkel, David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Eden Links, Marchant de Lange, Alfonso Thomas.