CHRIS MORRIS and AB de Villiers made telling contributions on their return to the domestic scene as the Multiply Titans surged to the top of the Momentum One-Day Cup table with a seven-wicket bonus-point win over the Warriors in Benoni on Tuesday.
Fast bowler Morris (3/32) and fellow Standard Bank Proteas star Lungi Ngidi (3/30) shared six wickets first up as the visitors were bundled out for 147 – the lowest score for any side this season – in 41.2 overs at Sahara Park Willowmoore.
National captain De Villiers then clubbed 75 (62 balls, 10 fours, 1 six) to take his side to victory with over 20 overs to spare.
It was a massive win in the context of the season and propelled the host to the top of the standings with just a single game, at home to bottom side BuildNat Cape Cobras, to come on Thursday. They are now in pole position to end in the No. 1 spot, which will give them an automatic ticket to the March 31 final.
For the visitors it was a disappointing Human Rights Day as they slipped out of the play-off positions after the VKB Knights beat the bizhub Highveld Lions by four runs to go ahead of them.
The day, though, did start well when captain Jon-Jon Smuts won the toss and chose to bat first. But they were three down with only 18 on the board as Morris and Ngidi cut up the top order. A 66-run fourth-wicket stand of 66 between Smuts and Yaseen Vallie got things slightly back on track, before the skipper edged a Malusi Siboto delivery down the leg side and was caught by wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn for 39.
Vallie top-scored with 44, but there was little else resistance as the men from the Eastern Cape fell in a rush. Junio Dala also excelled with 2/26.
Andrew Birch (2/37) took out Jonathan Vandiar (1) early, but Kuhn and Aiden Markram struck 23 each to keep the Titans in control.
By the time both fell it was 61/3, but De Villiers and Farhaan Behardien (24) added an unbroken 87 for the fourth wicket to give the Titans victory with 131 balls to spare.