Titans earn hard-fought draw against the Knights

Cape Town - Openers Victor Mahlangu and Wesley Marshall led a colossal second-innings batting effort that ended with Junior Dala and Lungi Ngidi the heroes as the Titans managed to salvage a draw from their round-four 4-Day Francise Series encounter against the Knights in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

Needing to bat out the final day, which they had resumed on 145 for none, the visitors finished on 367 for eight in their follow-on innings that dragged deep into the final day.

Their rookie openers both struck 90s and put on 203 for the first wicket, with the ever-reliable Farhaan Behardien chipping in with 81 (132 balls, 10 fours, 1 six).

However, when the veteran Proteas batsman fell, there were still 20 overs to go, leaving Dala and Ngidi to face the music.

The pair managed to fend off everything the Knights threw at them, finishing with 11 off 92 balls and five off 49 balls respectively as Mark Boucher’s men survived.

The Centurion-based side had been on the back foot for most of the game, so the result is certain to still give them plenty of confidence heading into the break in calendar, which will now see the Mzansi Super League take centre stage over the next six weeks.

The Titans had conceded 541 for seven declared and then replied with 211, leaving them under heavy pressure after being asked to follow on.

They were then given a good start with the top two taking them to 145 for none by stumps on day three.

But they still needed 185 to make the hosts bat again. Marshall (98 off 181 balls, 13 fours) and Mahlangu (94 off 178 balls, 15 fours, 1 six) managed another 58 together, before their stand ended. Both also fell in quick succession, meaning the pressure remained on the Titans.

Pick-of-the-bowlers Shaun von Berg (4/92) got rid of Neil Brand (10) not long after leaving the score on 220 for three.

It was then over to Behardien, who single-handedly held things together and even took his side 19 runs into the lead.

But that was when he fell leg before wicket to Corne Dry (2/50) leaving the door ajar for the Central Franchise.

But Dala and Ngidi had other ideas, batting out nearly 20 overs to secure a gutsy draw.

- SA Cricket