The Titans batsmen have a crucial second day ahead of them at Willowmoore Park as the Knights have closed the gap on them in the Sunfoil Series.
Mark Boucher’s defending champions’ bowlers grabbed a full house of four bowling bonus points on the opening day of their decisive final game against the Warriors in Benoni on Thursday but the pressure is still on.
The Warriors had elected to bat first and were bowled out for just 187 in 74.2 overs, giving the Titans four points in comfortable fashion.
But 40km to the west, the Knights were busy plundering 408 for seven against the Highveld Lions, grabbing 6.16 batting points with seven overs still to add to that tally, which leaves them just 0.22 points behind the Titans.
The Titans had battled to 48 for two at stumps in their reply and, if the Knights manage to also get four bowling points against the Lions, then they will need to score at least 279 inside 100 overs in order to stay ahead of their closest challengers.
While leg-spinner Shaun von Berg (4/59) was the main destroyer for the Titans, Malusi Siboto led the attack in impressive fashion by taking three for 40 in 20 overs, using his great accuracy to continually ask questions of the batsmen.
Fellow new-ball bowler Richards took two for 52, while Alfred Mothoa, in his first four-day game for the Titans, took one for 26 in 15 overs.
Control seems to be his major attribute but the match officials were asking for video footage of his rather strange action.
The Titans were left with 19 overs to bat before stumps and their primary aim would have been to lay a solid foundation for their batting bonus points chase on the second day.
Over at the Wanderers, the Knights ran amok against the Lions after they had won the toss and batted first, scoring at 4.38 runs-per-over.
Openers Luthando Mnyanda (46) and Diego Rosier (60) set the tone as they added 112, and the middle-order ensured they cashed in.
Theunis de Bruyn scored a dominating 72 off 87 balls and Pite van Biljon blasted a fabulous 119 off 164 balls.
Rudi Second added 45 as they took the Knights to 345 for three before the Lions struck back with the second new ball.
The Lions used eight bowlers as they toiled, with Beuran Hendricks the most successful with three for 72.
The Dolphins bowlers also had their work cut out for them in Durban, before spinner Senuran Muthusamy took three late wickets to lift their spirits, the Cape Cobras closing on 298 for six.
Left-handers Andrew Puttick (116) and Stiaan van Zyl (108) both scored their second centuries of the campaign, and their second-wicket stand of 160 laid a strong platform for the Cobras after they had won the toss and elected to bat.