Giants fight for a semifinal berth
The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants will be looking to turn it on for their home crowd when they take on the Tshwane Spartans at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday at 7pm.
The Giants are currently sitting in second position on the standings with two pool stage matches to play.
A win in their penultimate match against the Spartans will secure them a spot in the play-off stage. This would take substantial pressure off their final match away to the Paarl Rocks next week.
Giants captain Jon-Jon Smuts knows how telling Saturday’s result will be.
“Home games are always important and our next one is against the Tshwane Spartans on Saturday,” said Smuts. “That will be a massive game for us. If you can do well at home, that holds you in good stead for the tournament so hopefully we can get a win.
“It almost takes the pressure off what would maybe be a mustwin game for the last one where we can just go out, play and express ourselves.”
Smuts, who looked impressive with bat in the abandoned match against Durban Heat on Wednesday, is wary of all-comers and even though the Spartans are second-last on the table, the Proteas allrounder is wary of the danger they bring.
“Pretty much every game left in the competition is a massive game. I said in the last press conference I still think that people deemed as favourites are going to be knocked out by some of the teams who are in the bottom half.
“Every squad is strong and in this game individuals can win you games from nowhere. So, I think there are going to be a few so-called upsets and a lot more excitement to come.”
With the Cape Town Blitz looking good to finish top and thereby claim a final berth in Cape Town, a home semifinal is what the Giants will be targeting.
“At the moment we sitting in a nice position but then again, we have got two big games coming up and we need to play well in both. First option is, you want to be in the top three. If you can get a home semi or final it’s massive in the competition,” said Smuts.
“But again, if you asked anyone at the start of the competition, they were all pretty much saying top three would be great.”
Englishman Jason Roy gave fans a glimpse of what he is capable of in scoring 26 off 16 balls against the Heat on Wednesday and Smuts was impressed by what he saw.
“Look, he played really well, some fantastic shots. He brings some serious X-factor to the team which is really exciting. He can win games by himself which is something you want to have. I think all the marquee players have that capability so it’s going to be great to see how he goes in the next few games.”
AB de Villiers has had a lean run in the last two matches but he will be a massive factor for the Spartans, as will England star Eoin Morgan.
I still think that people deemed as favourites are going to be knocked out by some of the teams who are in the bottom half – Smuts
BIG TASK AHEAD: Skipper Jon-Jon Smuts considers Jason Roy to be an important factor for the Giants.