The Titans clearly meant it when they said they were desperate to finally win the Momentum eKasi Challenge as they hammered the Highveld Lions by 71 runs in the fifth edition of the annual cross-Jukskei derby at the Nelson Mandela Oval in Hammanskraal on Wednesday.
An imperious century by opening batsman Aiden Markram meant the Titans were always in control after they had been sent in to bat, the hosts piling up a daunting 363 for eight in their 50 overs.
Markram provided the basis for the total by helping himself to 134 off just 110 balls, with 15 fours and three sixes. He and Andrea Agathagelou (64 off 61) added 159 for the second wicket off just 137 deliveries to give the Titans innings the most solid of platforms.
Markram was eventually dismissed with 15 overs remaining as he dragged a slower ball from Craig Alexander into his own stumps, but impressive contributions from the 18-year-old Jiveshan Pillay (56 off 47), Heinrich Klaasen (35 off 22), Rivaldo Moonsamy (35* off 23) and Shaun von Berg (20 off 16) meant the Titans finished strongly.
Omphile Ramela then rescued the Lions’ reply after the loss of two early wickets, producing some great strokeplay in an innings of 87 off just 68 balls.
But the introduction of the spinners turned the tide back the Titans’ way as leg-spinner Shaun von Berg undermined the innings with three wickets, including that of Ramela, caught on the midwicket boundary.
The likes of Ryan Rickelton (38), Nicky van den Bergh (50) and Nono Pongolo (32) fought hard, but the required run-rate was just too high after the strangling work of Von Berg (10-0-60-3) and Gregory Mahlokwana (8.3-1-40-2).
Alfred Mothoa, the home town hero, kept breaking the Lions’ partnerships as he picked up an excellent four for 49 in 10 overs, the visitors being dismissed for 292 in the 48th over.