Titans left wondering what one more hour might have given them
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.