TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE Warriors came and saw, but they didn’t conquer. Instead, their trophy-drought will continue after they succumbed to the Titans by six runs in the T20 final in Centurion on Friday.
Asked to chase 156 to win their first franchise title since 2009-10, when they claimed both the one-day and T20 crowns, the Warriors mustered 149/6.
The match, a wonderful advertisement for cricket in any format, was a roller-coaster of runs, reality checks and reasons to wonder what would happen next.
Errors there were aplenty – a splatter of dropped catches and a slew of wides and no-balls – but no-one could complain about the quality of the contest.
Most magical of all in the Titans’ innings of 155/6 was the catch that removed Heinrich Klaassen.
Klaasen’s hoist, off Colin Ingram, was caught less than a metre inside the boundary by a hard-running Colin Ackermann – whose momentum seemed sure to carry him over the ropes ball and all.
But as he sped towards oblivion Ackermann had the presence of mind, not to mention the co-ordination, to lob the ball to the waiting Qaasim Adams, who completed the catch.
As feisty as the Warriors were in the field, they also cost themselves when Jon-Jon Smuts failed to hold a steepler sent into orbit by David Wiese, off Kyle Abbott, with the first ball of the 19th over.
Wiese was on three and finished not out on 24, and more importantly survived to marshal the last 12 balls of the innings – which yielded 27 runs.
Bashir Walters was the only bowler among the seven the Warriors used on the day/night to get away with conceding fewer than a run-a-ball.
Aiden Markram’s 33, however, was the only score above 30 for the home side, and none of their partnerships reached 40.
Despite their shaky batting, the Titans had brought their A game. That much was evident with just the fifth ball of the Warriors’ reply, when Markram somehow got both hands to a screamer of a catch smashed by Clyde Fortuin.
Worse yet, the key wickets of Smuts and Ingram fell 21 balls apart.
Smuts tried to leave Wiese and instead guided, off the face of his bat, a catch to wicketkeeper Klaassen. Ingram flashed at Lungi Ngidi and was caught behind.
That reduced the Warriors to 43/3 in the sixth over.
It needed a stand of 48 between Ackermann and Christiaan Jonker to put the visitors back on track, and Ackerman and Adams put on another 34.
As long as Ackermann was there the Warriors were in it. But, with 22 balls left in the game and 31 runs to get, Ackerman slapped Ngidi to deep cover – where Junior Dala took the catch to dismiss the visitors’ No. 4 for 34.
Lesiba Ngoepe and Sisanda Magala needed a dozen off the last over, which was bowled by Malusi Siboto.
Only seven accrued, and that was that.