Ti­tans left won­der­ing what one more hour might have given them

Pretoria News - - SPORT -

THEY tried. Even hav­ing lost 148 overs to the el­e­ments, they re­ally did try to make a game of it at Kingsmead. And, some­how, the fi­nal hour was a tense one, with the prospect of a Ti­tans vic­tory heist tak­ing mat­ters to just short of 5pm yes­ter­day.

Ul­ti­mately, though, the Dol­phins and Ti­tans shook hands at 4:57pm, and set­tled on a draw in their FourDay Fran­chise Series clash. The Dol­phins, to their sig­nif­i­cant credit, dug their heels in, when they could eas­ily have fallen away. But, Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s bril­liant 133 was the cor­ner­stone for a stern ri­poste from the home side.

Ear­lier in the day, El­dred Hawken had given the Ti­tans a handy lead of 195 by smash­ing 84 not out from just 59 balls. He was bru­tal on Ke­shav Ma­haraj on the fourth morn­ing, as the Ti­tans sped to 381 all out. He was later named man of the match, for three wick­ets in each in­nings, and his whirl­wind show with the wil­low.

Af­ter that early hur­ri­cane, the Dol­phins needed some­one to stand up, and Van Jaarsveld bat­ted exquisitely – es­pe­cially in his first 50 runs, when the vis­i­tors em­ployed at­tack­ing fields.

At the other end of the spec­trum, Grant Roelof­sen showed con­sid­er­able steel at the back end, with the Ti­tans clos­ing in on the tail. The KZN-In­land star struck 46 not out, but its true value lay in its ma­tu­rity and its stick­a­bil­ity.

There were con­tri­bu­tions from skip­per Khaya Zondo (25), Si­bonelo Makhanya (32) and Ma­haraj (23), but their dis­missals kept the Ti­tans in­ter­ested. When Ma­haraj fell, caught down leg-side by Sizwe Ma­sondo, the vis­i­tors thought the door was fi­nally ajar. But Lwan­diswa Zuma sucked the drama out of it, with a res­o­lute de­fence which re­pelled 20 balls over half an hour.

At that point, with 12 overs left in the day and the Dol­phins har­bour re­in­forced, the Ti­tans ac­cepted that they could do no more.

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