Heat have been ‘way off the mark’

Pretoria News - - SPORT -

THE DUR­BAN HEAT kissed their Mzansi Su­per League chances good­bye on Wed­nes­day, as they watched the rain fall de­press­ingly over their clash against the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Gi­ants.

As it was, the el­e­ments prob­a­bly saved them from yet an­other hum­bling de­feat. The men from Port El­iz­a­beth were omi­nously placed at 121/2, and poised to climb into the fi­nal overs.

As the um­pires called time on the match, David Miller was tasked with sum­ming up the sen­ti­ments of the home dress­ing-room.

“Look we have been a long way off the mark the whole com­pe­ti­tion,” Miller sighed.

“We haven’t fired in a lot of ar­eas and we can’t re­ally find an ex­pla­na­tion for it.”

That has been the on­go­ing mes­sage from the Heat. They have prac­tised as well as they could, but it has not nearly come to­gether on the field. There has been no place to hide for them, and they now have to fin­ish the com­pe­ti­tion in the role of a span­ner in the works.

“We want to play with a lot of pride over the next three games and fin­ish with four wins out of our 10 matches in the com­pe­ti­tion,” Miller vowed.

It is cer­tainly the least they can do, and it will give the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion the in­tegrity it de­serves.

Should the Heat fi­nally win again, they will se­ri­ously dent the play­off chances for their vic­tims. They may well have a hand in de­cid­ing who hosts the fi­nal, even if they will play no part in that.

“What­ever that does to the ta­ble isn’t any­thing that we are con­cerned about and we are just hop­ing for a full 40 overs this Fri­day,” Miller ex­panded, with a cur­sory men­tion of the no­to­ri­ous Dur­ban weather around cricket sea­son.

It hasn’t helped mat­ters at all, es­pe­cially as it only seems to fall on match days. Tues­day was a bel­ter, and yes­ter­day was sim­i­larly de­light­ful. You can al­ready guess what this af­ter­noon might do.

The Jozi Stars are next on the radar for the Heat, just a week after the same op­po­nents tore into them at “The Bull­ring”.

That saw the Stars spark a three-game streak of bonus-point tri­umphs. They are now the form team in the com­pe­ti­tion, and have their sights set fair on do­ing the dou­ble on the Heat.

The likes of Chris Gayle and Kag­iso Rabada, as well as run ma­chine Reeza Hen­dricks, will pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge.

“They seem to be a side that is start­ing to peak at the right time which is a good sign for them,but we are go­ing to re­group and fo­cus hard on the match,” Miller main­tained.

“All the teams are strong in this com­pe­ti­tion and we just want to try and play the best cricket we can.”

Mean­while, in Cape Town Blitz’s first four games they were un­touch­able, and in the process streaked to a healthy lead at the top of the stand­ings. Their last four matches, how­ever, have been a stut­ter­ing af­fair with only a Quin­ton de Kock spe­cial at Cen­tu­rion ac­count­ing for the sole vic­tory splat­tered among two de­feats and a wash-out.

The re­liance on De Kock and fel­low opener Jan­ne­man Malan is patent. It is there­fore slightly per­turb­ing that with only two games re­main­ing in the league phase, the mid­dle or­der con­sist­ing of Dawid Malan, Farhaan Be­har­dien Andile Phehluk­wayo and Asif Ali have not con­trib­uted in the way their T20 records and po­ten­tial sug­gest they can.

Coach Ash­well Prince, though, be­lieves it is only a mat­ter of time that they will start flour­ish­ing, be­gin­ning with tonight’s much-an­tic­i­pated Western Cape derby against the Paarl Rocks at New­lands.

“I’m not con­cerned about the mid­dle or­der. We have qual­ity in the team. We haven’t fired on all cylin­ders in the mid­dle or­der and we’ve only lost two out of eight games and we are sit­ting on top of the ta­ble. I am still con­fi­dent the guys are go­ing to hit form,” he said.

“I hon­estly feel that we are only op­er­at­ing at 60-70 per­cent at the mo­ment. If we play at 80-95 per­cent some­where along the line then that’s go­ing to stand us in good stead. We haven’t peaked yet.” | Lun­gani Zama Zaahier Adams

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