FARHAAN BEHARDIEN scored the fastest half-century in domestic 20 over history and the second quickest ever on South African soil as the Multiply Titans booked their ticket to the T20 Challenge final with a six-run win over the Warriors in a rain-affected fiver-over dash in East London on Sunday.
The Standard Bank Proteas batsman blazed 55 in a mere 15 balls (4 fours, 5 sixes) as the defending champions posted 80/2, before restricting their hosts to 74/2 in reply.
Rain had threatened to completely wash out proceedings at Buffalo Park in a match that was effectively a semi-final – the winner guaranteed top spot on the log and an automatic place in the final it would host next Friday.
But after the weather cleared enough for a five-over per side affair, the Warriors won the toss and chose to bowl first.
They kept things relatively quiet for the first two overs with the Titans on 11/2 at that stage. But Behardien then arrived and played a gem of an innings to put his side out of sight. His 50 was raised in only 14 balls, smashing the previous best domestic record of 19 balls, which was held by Martin van Jaarsveld, Albie Morkel, Andre Russell and Colin Ingram.
It was also just two balls slower than the world record 12-ball 50 hit by Yuvraj Singh in Durban for India against England back in 2007, a mark that Chris Gayle also holds for the Melbourne Renegades. Jon-Jon Smuts and Sisanda Magala conceded 24 and 27 in their respective overs as the Titans were in complete control at the halfway stage.
Captain Smuts then hit 21 and Christiaan Jonker an unbeaten 26, but the scoreboard pressure and David Wiese’s outstanding fourth over, which went for only six, proved too much as they surrendered first position to the visitors.
The result meant the men from Eastern Cape dropped to second and must now play the bizhub Highveld Lions in a Qualifier in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday for the right to meet the Titans in Centurion for the title on Friday.