Last season the Titans were unbeaten through their first six games, but their effort in 2015/16 was even more impressive as they won a competition record eight games in a row from their second match. It enabled them to top the log by 13 points and host the final, in which they swept to victory by seven wickets with 19 balls to spare against the Dolphins.
The origins of the Titans’ recent limited-overs success – they have also won the Momentum One-Day Cup three times in the last four seasons – can perhaps be traced back to a decision Walter made: appointing Albie Morkel, a Titans person through and through, as limited-overs captain.
Morkel was one of the institutions at the Chennai Super Kings franchise that dominated the early years of the IPL, so it was a sensible decision to put him in charge of plotting the Titans’ T20 strategy. Dominating the first six overs of the innings, whether you are batting or bowling, is one of the all-rounder’s core beliefs and the statistics from their benchmark 2015/16 campaign show how effectively they achieved this.
Opening batsman Quinton de Kock was the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 437 at an average of 39.72 and a strike-rate of 141.88 (fellow opener Henry Davids also played several crucial innings), while new-ball bowler Chris Morris was the leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps in 11 games at an average of just 15.83 and an economy rate of 7.12.
Having boundary-hitters in the middle-order and batting deep is another of Morkel’s key tactics and he boasted a strike-rate of 141.42 that season, and an average of 39.60. The skipper was also the most economical bowler in the competition.
With David Wiese, who can be as ferocious as the Wolverine with the bat and as canny as a fox with the ball (he topped the bowling averages with 14 wickets at 9.92), and the explosive Morris, Morkel anchored a phenomenal trio of all-rounders that gave the Titans a massive advantage.
The wrist-spin of Tabraiz Shamsi also proved vital in the shortest format, as was the accurate left-arm spin of Graeme van Buuren, the second-most economical bowler in the tournament.
Mangaliso Mosehle played the innings of his life in the final, 87 off 39 balls, to race the Titans to victory against the Dolphins in front of the packed grass banks of SuperSport Park.
Sent in to bat, the Hollywoodbets Dolphins made a competitive 159 for five, but Morkel rotated his eight bowlers well and stopped the visitors from ever really getting away from them.
Mosehle and Davids then set up the victory as they added 123 for the second wicket off just 67 balls, the highlight being the three sixes the wicketkeeper/batsman hit off Imran Tahir in the 12th over, which went for 28 runs.