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Titans hang on to clinch a thriller

cricket Updated: Sep 25, 2013 10:04 IST
Kuldeep Panwar
Kuldeep Panwar
Hindustan Times
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The dark and a gloomy noon gave way to clear evening skies at the PCA stadium, Brisbane Heat pacer Matthew Gale found himself tangled in a comedy of errors. The T20 debutant had just removed Jacques Rudolph on the second ball of his first over.

As the celebrations winded up in the middle, Gale found the ball missing. A new one was delivered to him, but just then umpire Bruce Oxenford woke up to sheepishly return the original ball back to the bowler.

Well, it might have been a short, good moment, but what transpired in the next two and a half hours left Titans smiling. The bowlers defended the smallish total with gusto backed by some superb fielding; squeezing the Heats chase.

Titans' pace battery, comprising of Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange and Rowan Richards, were bang on target from the word go. Generating blistering pace and bounce on the greenish wicket, they never allowed the Heat batsmen to settle down.

In the end it all came too close for anybody's comfort, with Heat requiring 10 off the last over. Holding on to his nerves De Lange removed Alice McDermott to wrap up Heat for 119.

Earlier, Titans skipper Henry Davids and Heino Kuhn started well adding 69 runs for the second wicket, but just when the Proteas' side had all the momentum enforced errors left them with sub-par total of 123.

Kuhn (31) and Davids (39) departed in the space of one over and Titans best batsman AB de Villiers came on to the field amidst loud cheers from the handful of the crowd, who were expecting more fireworks. But it's here that Titans innings wheel came off.

Firstly, de Villiers who had batted well for his 28 off 19 balls was run out after confusion with Farhaan Behardien. And from 107 for 5, Titans lost their last six wickets for addition of 16 runs.

Brief scores: Titans 123 in 18.5 overs (Davids 39, Kunn 31; Gale 4-10, Christian 2-16) bt Heat 119 in 20 overs (Hopes 37, Christian 21; de Lange 3-13, Richards 2-20).