RASSIE van der Dussen made the most of his opportunity to turn out for the bizhub Highveld Lions as he hit just the second century of the RAM SLAM T20 season, but The Unlimited Titans came within one hit of denying him victory as the hosts clinched a thrilling clash at Senwes Park by one run.
Van der Dussen has spent most of the campaign watching on from the sidelines as a successful Lions outfit remained largely unchanged, only filling in for an injured Chris Gayle in a couple of games – one of which brought him a sharp fifty.
However, on Friday he came in for Alviro Petersen to open the batting alongside Gayle, and duly hit an unbeaten 101 in 61 balls (2x4s, 8x6s) to carry the Lions to a total of 179 for three.
That looked likely to be enough, but the returning Heino Kuhn (69 not out from 57 balls) led a team effort by the Titans batsmen to take the game down to the last ball.
Kuhn went into the game in wretched form, having scored five single-digit scores in his last six competitive innings, but shared stands of 63 with Henry Davids and 66 with Heinrich Klaasen (44 from 24 balls).
Klaasen’s assault kept the Titans in the game just when the required rate was becoming too much – in large part because of Eddie Leie’s 2 for 14 in four overs – and then David Wiese (25 off 12) took over, taking 20 runs from the 18th over.
The Titans went into the last over needing 15 off Lonwabo Tsotsobe, and reduced that to eight from three before Wiese was dismissed.
Darren Sammy arrived to hit the penultimate ball for six to leave two required off the last, but then hit Tsotsobe straight to Neil McKenzie to give the Lions victory.
While the Titans are now out of the competition, the result kept the Lions in touch with the Cobras at the top of the table – the Lions now trail by three points with two games remaining.