Multiply Titans bowling coach Mandla Mashimbyi often calculates the run-rate while his team are in the field and the fact that the WSB Cape Cobras were able to score at least 3.5 runs per over throughout the Sunfoil Series match at Sahara Willowmoore Park shows why the home side eventually had to fight for the draw in Benoni on Sunday.
Allowing the Cobras to score 428 all out in their first innings immediately put the Titans behind in the game and, although they fought hard with the bat to reply with 346, the final day dawned with the visitors able to make the running thanks to their 82-run lead.
They eventually declared at 185 for six, an hour after lunch, leaving the Titans to score 268 in 51 overs in order to win, a required run-rate of 5.25. But the clouds building up overhead were the biggest factor and the Titans had reached 57 for two in 17.5 overs when rain forced the players from the field and killed any chance of a result. The 12.42 points the Titans gained from the match did at least keep them at the top of the four-day log, 5.40 points ahead of the Warriors.
“It was our first game back in the four-day stuff and we were a bit lacklustre with both bat and ball. We should have bowled better lengths and the Cobras had one player [Pieter Malan] who batted for a long time and got a hundred. Whereas our guys got in and then got out.
“If we had bowled on the first day the way we bowled in the second innings, then the Cobras would have been in trouble. But we didn’t bowl as well as we would have liked, right from the new ball, so we were playing catch-up. A run-rate of 3.5 on the first day was too high,” Mashimbyi said after stumps on Sunday.
Mashimbyi said that it was pleasing that debutants Rivaldo Moonsamy (76) and Andrea Agathagelou (51) both scored half-centuries and that the lower-order contributed vital runs, the last four wickets adding 92 and keeping the Cobras in the field for an extra couple of hours that might have been crucial.
“I have to commend the tail for the way they fought to the end. As coaches, we’ve made sure we’ve given them our two cents worth in terms of preparing them for batting. Last year we lost the competition by one-and-a-bit points, so we will never take those runs down the order for granted.
“It’s also been the story through the season that guys have come in and looked like they belong, and it was nice to see Rivaldo and Andrea get runs. The new guys coming into the team really buy into the culture and that helps a lot,” Mashimbyi said.