Rowan Richards returned career-best figures as the Titans produced a superb comeback on day three to claim victory over the Cape Cobras and with it the Sunfoil Series title thanks to a 10-run win in Paarl on Saturday. The left-arm seamer claimed 7/40 in an excellent 16 overs to help the visitors defend a mere 136 at Boland Park. Richards, whose previous best first-class haul was 5/26 in three-day cricket, was in inspired form as the match looked dead and buried for the title-chasing Titans following a first-innings score of 164 that left the in trouble from the outset.
But having bowled the Cobras out for 285 and then themselves restricted to 256 second time around, the Titans’ championship hopes looked set to rest on other results. They left little to chance, though, and despite a 24-run opening stand, roared back through Richards to bowl the home side out in 37.4 overs shortly after lunch on the third afternoon. Among his wickets were top-scorer Dane Vilas (25), Cobras captain Omphile Ramela (6), Proteas batsman Stiaan Van Zyl (0) and the in-form Wayne Parnell (0).
The win did not go without some late nerves either as Dane Piedt (15) and Dane Paterson (17 not out) shared a 32-run partnership for the final wicket that had threatened to take the hosts over the line. However, Tabraiz Shamsi (2/27) broke the stand to ensure the Pretoria-side claimed the win they needed to secure a title they last won back in 2011/12. Their final points total was 133.20 after taking 15.28 points from the match, while the Cobras ended with 92.84 overall and could be caught in fourth by the Dolphins depending on the outcome of their encounter with the Knights.