The Lions, trailing by just 33 runs on first innings, resumed on 104 for three on Wednesday, with Rassie van der Dussen and Nicky van den Bergh having already defied the Titans attack for 45 minutes on the second evening.
But Lungi Ngidi, the hero of the first innings with six for 37, the best figures of the season thus far, needed just five deliveries on Wednesday before he trapped Van der Dussen lbw for 28.
The other overnight batsman, Van den Bergh, only lasted for three more overs before Ngidi found the edge of his bat for Shaun von Berg to take another sharp catch at third slip, dismissing the Lions wicketkeeper/batsman for 11.
The Lions had slumped to 113 for five and it was all downhill from there as Malusi Siboto, the ideal foil for the out-and-out fast men of the Titans attack, took four for 26 to bowl the home team out for just 165.
That left a target of just 133 runs for the Titans to record the first victory of the Sunfoil Series campaign and, having waited five games for it, the visitors claimed it in emphatic fashion, needing just 19 overs to rattle off the runs for the loss of just one wicket. Hardus Viljoen managed to trap Dean Elgar lbw for 25, but not before he and Aiden Markram had put together yet another substantial opening partnership – 85 on this occasion.
Two balls later, the fiery Lions opening bowler had also sent rookie batsman Bafana Mahlangu back to the changeroom, but this time it was due to an awful blow Viljoen struck in a very sensitive region, forcing the batsman to retire hurt.
But Markram, who has taken ownership of the captaincy in such impressive fashion and just keeps on churning out the runs, finished the job with an uncompromising 81 not out off just 67 deliveries, with 13 fours and two sixes. Migael Pretorius, promoted to number four, collected three successive sixes for himself off part-time spinner Reeza Hendricks, finishing on 22 not out off 10 balls.
The Titans are now almost 24 points ahead of their nearest challengers on the log, and coach Mark Boucher said they are delighted that they are the team to finally break the deadlock in the first four rounds of the competition.
“The pitches have all been quite batting friendly and the 16 points for the win that is meant to encourage aggressive cricket has maybe made everyone a bit scared, because that’s a lot of points to give away, teams maybe are not willing to risk that.
"After being on the winning side of a lot of draws, we knew we just had to carry on playing our brand of cricket. It’s great that we are taking something out of the first half of the competition," Boucher said after the game.
The former Proteas veteran said he had been a bit disappointed by the Titans’ first-innings batting display, but after some “strong words” in the changeroom, they came roaring back in the second innings.
“We gave away quite a few soft wickets with the bat, we felt a bit let down after only getting a lead of 33. But after tea yesterday, we never let the Lions get away from us, it was like an investment session for us and we knew we could make inroads in the morning, and we reaped the rewards today,” Boucher said.