Brisbane Heat's Champions League Twenty20 campaign suffered a huge setback after a four-run defeat to South Africa's Titans, in Mohali, on Tuesday.
Chasing a modest 124 for victory, the Australian side lost wickets in a heap after dismissal of skipper James Hopes, who hit a defiant 37, and tasted their second straight defeat in the tournament.
Hopes and Daniel Christian (21) raised a 44-run stand for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings after the loss of three early wickets. However, once the two batsmen departed, Heat wilted under pressure.
Left-hander Chris Sabburg raised hopes with a quick-fire 19 off seven balls, but his run-out in the last over ended whatever hopes Heats may have entertained.
Fast bowler Marchant de Lange took three wickets for 13 runs in his four-over quota to emerge Titans’ most successful bowler while his pace colleague Rowan Richards bagged two for 20.
It was Richards, who broke the crucial stand between Hopes and Christian by cleaning up the latter.
Brisbane Heat required 10 runs off the last over but got only five after losing three wickets, including two through run-outs.
Earlier, Titans, who were invited to bat, did not last their full quota of overs, bowled out for 123 in 18.5.
Skipper Henry Davids top-scored with a 31-ball 39 and added 69 runs for the second wicket Heino Kuhn (31).
Australian pacer Matthew Gale emerged the wrecker-in-chief for Heat, claiming four wickets for just 10 runs in his 2.5 overs. Christian took two wickets for 16 runs.
The match was delayed by 45 minutes due to rain, which stopped around 15 minutes before the toss, but the efforts put in by the groundsmen meant the overs were not going to be reduced.
Titans were bundled out with as many as seven deliveries to go. Apart from 29-year-old Gale and Christian, Ben Cutting and Nathan Hauritz took a wicket each.
Hopes decided to bowl after winning the toss, and his side was off to a good start Jacques Rudolph was dismissed as early as the second over, the successful bowler being Gale.
But skipper Henry Davids, who top-scored with a 31-ball 39, added 69 runs for the second wicket Heino Kuhn (31) to stabilise Heat's innings.
The South African outfit's innings soon suffered a double blow, as it lost Kuhn and Davids in quick succession after a handy partnership.
Kuhn faced 27 balls and hit six boundaries while his skipper found the fence five times at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
The experienced A B de Villiers, in his typical style, smashed his way to 28 off just 19 deliveries before being run-out by the Ben Cutting-Nathan Hauritz combination.
Needless to say, De Villiers' wicket was important from Heat's point of view as the flashy right-hander was looking dangerous during his stay in the middle, hitting four boundaries as well as rotating the strike with ease.
However, what followed was a middle and lower-order collapse as none of the players could reach the double digits in the South African team’s first innings of the Group B clash.
Image: Marchant de Lange