De Zorzi ton sets up Titans for bonus point win

Cape Town - A fixture record opening partnership between Tony de Zorzi and Henry Davids paved the way for the Titans to make a strong start to their Momentum One-Day Cup campaign with a crushing nine-wicket bonus-point win over the Knights in Centurion on Sunday.

The pair put on 179 together with the former blasting a career-best 115 not out (124 balls, 11 fours, 2 sixes) on his way to a Man of the Match performance and the latter 84 off 73 balls (8 fours, 4 sixes) to help the hosts hunt down a 263-run victory target at SuperSport Park with 68 deliveries to spare.

Their partnership was preceded by a competition record stand of 174 unbroken for the sixth wicket, which was anchored by Keegan Petersen’s maiden franchise ton – a score of 107 (139 balls, 12 fours) – and a run-a-ball 80 (83 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) from Ryan McLaren.

However, it proved to be a total way short of par with the home side easing to victory.

And they were full value for their win too as Proteas ace Lungi Ngidi made a successful return from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for three months by returning figures of two for 35 in nine overs.

The paceman opened the bowling alongside another national star in Chris Morris (0/54) as the Titans made the most of winning the toss and electing to bowl first.

They had the Central Franchise in early trouble on 49 for two thanks to Ngidi’s double, while fellow South Africa internationals, Junior Dala (2/54) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1/48), struck further blows to leave the away side in even deeper strife on 88 for five.

But Petersen, fresh from ending the 4-Day Domestic Series as the top scorer with nearly 1 000 runs, continued his rich form alongside McLaren to lift their side to a respectable total.

Their stand for the sixth wicket surpassed the previous best in the competition of 161*between Justin Ontong and Dane Vilas for the Cape Cobras against the Warriors at Port Elizabeth in 2015/16.

However, the De Zorzi-Davids combination proved to be a more decisive one as they took their side to within 84 of the target in just over half of the overs.

Their stand bettered the previous mark of both sides in the fixture – 149 that Davids himself twice made with Heino Kuhn and the 140 shared by Jonathan Beukes with Loots Bosman.

After the veteran was dismissed by Mbulelo Budaza (1/48), Kuhn smeared 52 off 37 (7 fours, 1 six) in an unbroken 89-run second wicket stand to secure the win.