Hot Stars ready to turn up the Heat

Daily News - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA @whamzam17

THE JOZI Stars ar­rive in Dur­ban in red-hot form af­ter three huge vic­to­ries on the spin. This af­ter­noon they take on the Dur­ban Heat, who have been the dis­ap­point­ment of the Mzansi Su­per League.

Just one win in seven matches has seen the Dur­ban side firmly rooted to the bot­tom of the ta­ble. They were de­nied an­other vic­tory on Wed­nes­day night by the rain, and they will again look ner­vously to the heav­ens around lunch-time.

It is their last home match and the home side are des­per­ate to sign off with some cheer from a de­press­ing month.

Not that the Joburg vis­i­tors will be hand­ing out early Christ­mas presents. The men in gold are in hot form and have also wel­comed Chris Gayle back for the busi­ness end.

The West In­dies leg­end may be get­ting long in the tooth but he has made a habit of de­liv­er­ing at least one big per­for­mance in each of the tour­na­ments he fre­quents around the world.

He would have eyed the Dur­ban visit as a strong chance to get into some form be­fore they turn the cor­ner into the home straight.

Gayle is far from the Stars’ only dan­ger­man. Reeza Hen­dricks is the most in-form bats­man in the coun­try, with two un­beaten cen­turies and a 79 in his last three knocks. He has been re­lent­less but not reck­less.

There are plenty of les­sons there for the Heat to ab­sorb, but they then have the un­en­vi­able task of tak­ing on Kag­iso Rabada’s thun­der­bolts.

The Proteas spear­head left the Heat cold and in tat­ters the last time they met all of a week ago.

The Dur­ban­ites lost three wick­ets in Rabada’s open­ing over and never re­cov­ered. He too is in se­ri­ous form, which will make the Heat’s task even more dif­fi­cult.

All these fac­tors, along with what should be an­other fast, hard pitch, should pro­vide plenty of en­ter­tain­ment for those Dur­ban fans who come out with an open mind.

They won’t come with too much hope of a win be­cause the past few games have tem­pered that faith. They will come for one last lin­ger­ing look at a com­pe­ti­tion that has passed their team by.

They will come to see some at­tack­ing play and hope­fully a re­sponse of some sort from the Heat.

But even that may not be enough. The Stars are a solid unit, whose mis­sion has not been clouded by bad weather or poor form.

They will be a jug­ger­naut to stop, but the Heat have to try.

When it rains, it surely pours, they say.

Play at Kingsmead starts at 2pm, with cov­er­age on SABC 3 from 1.45pm.

BRANCO du Preez knows that South Africa will have to be bet­ter than they were in Dubai last week if they are go­ing to win the Cape Town Sevens start­ing to­mor­row. | Back­pagePix

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