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Titans thrash awful Auckland by 59 runs in Durban

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The unbeaten Auckland Aces got a complete thrashing on Wednesday afternoon as the Titans completely shot down their batsmen to win by a whopping margin of 59 runs and ensure that they are all but through to the Champions League T20 semi-finals. A good batting performance saw the Titans set a stiff target of 173 which was then defended with ease as the Aces collapsed for 113 to some disciplined bowling by the Titans' bowlers.

Being put in to bat, the Titans began their innings defying any assistance to the bowlers by the pitch. A boundary off almost every over, some classy drives and some over the top, forced Auckland to use 5 bowlers within the first 8 overs. Azhar Mahmood struck in the ninth over, removing Henry Davids for 36 (23b) and this slowed the scoring rate a bit. The Titans still managed to find the occasional boundary with Jacques Rudolph anchoring the innings brilliantly till he fell for 63 in the 18th over. Farhaan Behardien took charge towards the end with some controlled acceleration as he moved quickly to 48* off just 23 balls, striking three sixes along the way as the Titans posted an imposing 172-4.

Chasing 173, the Aces batsmen never really got going with wickets falling at regular intervals. The first three batsmen were back in the hutch within the first six overs, managing no more than single digit scores each. The rest of the batting order departed within the next six overs, all of them caught after putting the ball high into the air attempting big shots. Auckland were 68/9 in 11.4 overs and the game was as good as over. Andre Adams and Michael Bates put on 45 before the last wicket fell with the score on 113. Adams the last man to be dismissed having contributed 30 to the team's cause.

The Aces had their first major blow of the tournament, everything having gone their way so far. They still have a fair chance of making it to the semis but have a lot to think about before they take on the Daredevils on Friday. Their performance today with the bat can only be termed as reckless, as they attempted to play T20 cricket the old fashioned way where they attempted to hit every ball rather than looking to build an innings.

The Titans on the other hand will be very content with their performance. The batsmen did their job well and the bowlers even better. However, they would have looked to dismiss the Aces more quickly once they were 9 down for 68.

This win takes the Titans to the No.1 spot in Group A with 8 points and a healthy net run rate of +2.45 while the Aces stay at No.3 with their net run rate taking quite a beating. Farhaan Behardien was the man of the match for his brilliant knock towards the end of the Titans' innings.

Mini Scorecard

Titans 172-4 (20 Overs, 8.60 rpo)
J Rudolph 63 (56), M Bates 1-21

Aces 113-10 (18.1 Overs, 6.22 rpo)
A Adams 30 (17), A Thomas 3-18

Titans win by 59 runs