CENTURION: Jacques Rudolph struck a career-best 83 as the Titans began their Champions League Twenty20 campaign with a 39-run win over Perth Scorchers at the SuperSport Park here on Saturday.
The South African batsman batted through the innings and faced 59 deliveries while striking three sixes and nine fours, and shared in a superb 109-run opening stand with Henry Davids (54 off 38 balls) to help the hosts post 163 for four.
In reply, the Australian side never got going in the face of a polished bowling display, led by medium-pacer C.J. de Villiers’ 3-16, and eventually ended on 124 for seven despite a lone fighting innings by all-rounder Mitchell Marsh (52 off 41 balls, five fours
and one six).
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, the Titans began strongly with 11 from the first over when Rudolph hammered spinner Michael Beer for a flat six over midwicket and flayed him through the covers for four.
Davids found his range in the fifth over when charged down to Joe Mennie and thumped the ball over cover for six.
The Titans went past 50 in the next over, before reaching the halfway stage on 89-0.
They were particularly brutal on Ben Edmondson (2-0-32-0) with Davids reaching a seventh Twenty20 50 from 36 balls and Rudolph getting there from the same number of deliveries for his 13th 20-over 50.
Davids eventually fell in the 13th over when he was bowled by Beer (1-29) in the 13th over as he tried to smash another ball out of the park.
Once he fell, the impetus was lost as Nathan Rimmington (2-20) and Mennie (1-29) conceded 11 from the final three overs.
Despite Rudolph surpassing his previous best of 71, the Titans struggled towards the end – skipper Martin van Jaarsveld ending with the third highest score of 19 from 18 balls.
De Villiers then rocked the Scorchers in the fourth over when he had Shaun Marsh (7) caught at slip by Van Jaarsveld and
bowled Marcus North for a duck leaving the total on 17 for two.
Former Proteas ace Herschelle Gibbs was frustrated for much of his 19-ball stay and Alfonso Thomas tempted a loose stroke that was top-edged and taken by Heino Kuhn for 19.
After a series of dropped catches, which did little to diminish a strong fielding display, Simon Katich (23) and Luke Ronchi (nine) fell to Eden Links (1-32) and David Wiese (1-9) respectively.
Roelof van der Merwe (1-13) was also outstanding with the ball as the Titans surged top of Group ‘A’.
TITANS 163-4 in 20 overs (J.A. Rudolph 83 not out, H. Davids 54, M. van Jaarsveld 19; N.J. Rimmington 2-20); PERTH SCORCHERS 124-7 in 20 overs (M.R. Marsh 52 not out, S.M. Katich 23, H.H. Gibbs 19; C.J.D. de Villiers 3-16).—Agencies