Heat have been ‘way off the mark’
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