A dynamic bowling display from the Multiply Titans sunk Auckland and led the South African champions into tonight’s Abu Dhabi T20 final against Lahore Qalandars.
The Aces, knowing only a huge win would give them hope of topping Group B, slipped to 5-3 and later 80 all out having been inserted.
Fast bowler Tshepo Moreki claimed two wickets in the second over, including Auckland captain Craig Cachopa, who chopped onto his stumps.
Another seamer Alfred Mothoa also struck twice, while experienced leg-spinning all-rounder Shaun von Berg continued his excellent tournament with a career best 4-15 from his four overs.
In the chase, opener Tony de Zorzi, who hit a brilliant century against Boost Defenders last night, added a more measured 34 off 27 balls as the chase was completed by eight wickets 47 balls remaining.
Standout Von Berg, 32-years-old, had also taken 3-23 in their win over Boost.
The Titans employed fledgling ambidextrous spinner Gregory Mahlokwana. He bowled four cheap wicketless overs as he switched between bowling left-arm spin to the right-handers and off-spin to the lefties.
Von Berg’s spell was highlighted by a successful one-handed caught and bowled effort at the second attempt to dismiss Matt McEwan as the score slipped to 71-8 in the 14th.
Henry Davids’ part-time off-spin later yielded a wicket with his first ball as the New Zealanders were bowled out in 16 overs.
In reply, Auckland knew they would need a miracle to turn the game around, and it did not come.
De Zorzi and Cypriot opening partner Andrea Agathagelou shared 30 inside the first five overs before the latter was bowled for 19 trying to sweep at Will Somerville’s off-spinners.
The Titans reached 41-1 after six overs of power play, and de Zorzi shared 45 for the second wicket with Test batsman Theunis de Bruyn (20 not out).
Somerville was the pick of the Auckland bowlers with 1-15 from his four overs, while de Zorzi was caught behind off Michael Barry’s seamers with only five needed for victory.
This evening’s final between the reigning Ram Slam champions and Pakistan Super League outfit Lahore will start at 8pm.
Shaun von Berg – Man-of-the-match
Craig Cachopa – Auckland Captain