Tony de Zorzi lit up the Sheikh Zayed Stadium with a fabulous maiden hundred as the Multiply Titans eased past Afghanistan’s Boost Defenders by 50 runs to put themselves on the verge of qualification for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi T20 final.

The left-handed opener, 21-years-old, helped the South Africans live up to their tag as red hot favourites for this competition by underpinning a total of 218-3 with 106 not out off 57 balls.

De Zorzi fed on a diet of sweeps and reverse sweeps, hitting 13 fours and four sixes.

He shared half-century stands for the second, third and fourth wickets with Rivaldo Moonsamy (32), Theunis de Bruyn and Chris Morris, with the latter smashing 46 not out off only 14 balls at the death.

Unfortunately for Boost, their target of 219 proved far too tough an ask even with captain Colin Ingram’s 51 off 28 balls. They subsided from 108-1 in the eleventh over and finished on 168-8.

Shaun von Berg claimed 3-23 from four overs of leg-spin.

It means the Titans leapfrog them to the top of Group B, and a win over Auckland Aces tomorrow afternoon (3pm) will secure a final berth against Lahore a few hours later.

If they lose, all teams will be on two points and top spot in the group will be settled on net run-rate.

While de Zorzi, who had never previously topped 44 in eight career T20 appearances, led the way for the Ram Slam champions of the last three years, Morris added late impetus in blistering fashion, hitting nine of his 14 balls to or over the boundary rope.

At 47-1 after six overs of their reply, Boost stayed just ahead on comparison in the power play and likewise after 10 at 96-1, needing 123 more with Ingram and English opener Ryan Higgins in partnership.

Higgins (45) and Ingram shared 95 for the second wicket, but the former was the first of four wickets to fall for 10 runs in four successive overs.

Von Berg struck twice in that collapse, including getting Ingram lbw reverse sweeping as the score fell to 118-5 in the 14th, leaving the game all but wrapped up for the Titans.

“A lot of things came off for me today, and when it’s your day you have to make it count. I’m just happy I did. The wicket wasn’t easy to hit down the ground at the beginning, so I just tried my best to use the pace that the spinners bowled with. I forced them to bowl a bit fuller, so I could hit down the ground. We are definitely a good white ball side with a lot of match-winners from one to eleven. If anyone comes off, it can be our day. Today was a knockout game with Boost winning yesterday, so we’re just happy we got through that. Hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”
Tony de Zorzi, Titans Man of the Match
“That was a phenomenal innings (from de Zorzi). I actually thought we didn’t bowl that badly. I don’t think we fed him at all. I think he just played exceptionally well. He used the reverse sweep to the spin very well. Looking back, one thing we could have done was come around the wicket earlier than the last over to try and cramp him up. Someone with power and touch, ramping it over the keeper, is very difficult to face. Not just that, but they were an impressive outfit. Every discipline, they were very impressive. They (Titans) are as a good a side as I’ve seen. By all accounts, they’ve been very successful back home. I admired the way they prepared today. With an eye on the coaching side of it myself, you could tell they were well drilled.”
James Foster, Boost Coach