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Cricket | Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2017/18

AB de Villiers © Gallo Images

AB, Albie assault flattens Lions

The Multiply Titans got their defence of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge off to a perfect start as they easily reached their revised target of 135 against the bizhib Highveld Lions to win by eight wickets via the D/L method at a rain affected SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday evening.

Full scorecard: Titans v Lions

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Lions dug themselves out of a hole from 18-3 to post 127-6 from 15 overs thanks to an unbeaten 67 from 42 deliveries from Reeza Hendricks after a Highveld thunderstorm interrupted play.

With the match reduced to 15 overs apiece, the Titans needed to go at 9 an over from the outset. Not a problem when you have the power they have in their ranks.

Quinton de Kock (39 from 24) got the chase off to a blistering start by hammering Kagiso Rabada (0-18 from 2.2 overs) for consecutive boundaries through midwicket in the first over of their enthralling battle.

The 22 year-old was menacingly quick and was unlucky not to get his man when wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle made a mess of a De Kock top edge.

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The reprieve looked to be a costly mistake as De Kock ended Dwaine Pretorius’s (0-31 from 2 overs) first over with back to back sixes, but he would not receive another life as he skied Wiaan Mulder (2-28 from 3 overs) to long leg.

Just as he had done with the ball, bagging 3-12 inside the first six overs bowled, skipper Albie Morkel (41 not out from 16 balls) opted to lead from the front with the bat and strode out at No 3 to keep the pressure on his guests by launching his opposing captain, Aaron Phangiso (0-8 after 1 over) on to the grass over long-off.

Mulder had his second when he knocked over Henry Davids for 5 and then showed he is not awed by the big occasion by welcoming AB de Villiers (50 not out from 19) to the crease with a sneering bouncer.

Morkel registered another four maximums to go along with one four as he and De Villiers bullied their rivals from across the Jukskei to breeze passed their target with 22 balls remaining to claim a bonus-point victory in a display of power hitting that was devastating to witness.

De Villiers brought up his half century and ended the game by pelting Rabada for two sixes in a row.

With Rassie van der Dussen (0), Mosehle (0) and Marques Ackerman (10 from 6) all falling to Morkel at the top, the Lions were in a world of trouble early on with Hendricks watching the carnage unfold from the other end.

When in full flow, the right hander is one of the joys of the South African domestic scene and was fluent in his knock that included eight fours and one six.

His momentum was halted momentarily when a Highveld thunderstorm brought a break in play and reduced to game to 15 overs apiece.

The Lions added 24 runs in their final two overs to set their hosts a revised target of 135, but it was never going to be enough against De Kock, Morkel and De Villiers.

The Titans have now won five on the bounce against their inter-provincial rivals and will be full of confidence as they travel to Kimberly to take on the Knights on Wednesday.

The Lions can take some solace from the fact that the Cape Cobras should be an easier prospect when the two teams clash in Johannesburg on Friday.

MULTIPLY TITANS: AB de Villiers, AK Markram, Q de Kock (wk), H Davids, F Behardien, D Wiese, JA Morkel (capt), MP Siboto, T Shamsi, CJ Dala, L Ngidi

BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS: HE van der Dussen, RR Hendricks, M Mosehle (wk), MJ Ackerman, D Pretorius, AM Phangiso (capt), PWA Mulder, BC Fortuin, BE Hendricks, NJ van den Bergh, K Rabada


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