Un­der­cooked Heat could spoil Blitz home fi­nal hopes

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS [email protected]

THE TALE could not be more con­trast­ing for the Cape Town Blitz and Durban Heat head­ing into their fi­nal roundrobin Mzansi Super League en­counter at New­lands to­day (3.30pm).

Whereas the Blitz are com­ing off a bonus-point vic­tory over their neigh­bours Paarl Rocks in the West­ern Cape derby, and are sit­ting on top of the ta­ble, the Durban Heat are lan­guish­ing in last place.

Even more de­mor­al­is­ing for Al­bie Morkel’s men is that they lost their last en­counter from the jaws of vic­tory. With the match vir­tu­ally sewn up, Heat seamer Marchant de Lange lost his nerve and de­liv­ered two no balls that Jozi Stars’ Nono Pon­golo sent high into the Kingsmead stands to pull off an un­likely vic­tory.

But al­though the Heat hav­ing noth­ing but pride to play for, they can still spoil the Blitz’ party with the Cape Town team need­ing a vic­tory to ensure the in­au­gu­ral fi­nal will be hosted at New­lands next Sun­day.

“I am sure the guys at the bot­tom of the log would love to be where we are, so you have to enjoy it,” Blitz opener Quin­ton de Kock said af­ter his 93 against the Rocks. “We will re­group and plan and get our prepa­ra­tion done for Sun­day.

“Def­i­nitely (want to fin­ish first). That’s our main goal. We spoke about it. We are very pumped up about the way we want to go about this. So, is our coach Ash (Prince), he has been a big in­flu­encer for us and the team. We are go­ing to fight and keep do­ing what we are do­ing.”

The Blitz will once again be de­pend­ing on the skil­ful bowlers to set up the vic­tory. The have been su­perb through­out the tour­na­ment, and in par­tic­u­lar on Fri­day evening. Led by the ever-green Dale Steyn and com­pli­mented by young­sters such as left-arm seamer Nan­dre Burger, the Blitz will surely be look­ing to put main­tain the pres­sure on the mis­fir­ing Heat bat­ting unit.

The Heat’s hopes of a con­so­la­tion vic­tory will un­doubt­edly rest on their leg-spin­ner Rashid Khan. The Afghanistan su­per­star showed his class on Fri­day af­ter­noon when he al­most sin­gle-hand­edly bowled the Heat to vic­tory be­fore De Lange’s melt­down.

He could be par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive against the Blitz mid­dle-or­der that has been short of runs of late. De Kock, though, be­lieves it is only mat­ter of time be­fore the rest of the Blitz line-up shines like he cur­rently is at the mo­ment.

“We have some great play­ers in the team, es­pe­cially in the mid­dle-or­der. It takes just one knock for them, es­pe­cially now that we are get­ting to­wards the crunch games, to make their en­tire tour­na­ment,” he said.

“When the pres­sure is re­ally on, that’s when you see play­ers real char­ac­ter come out, and we have guys like Fudgie (Farhaan Ber­har­dien), who has been do­ing it for years for the Ti­tans, so it is just a mat­ter of time for him and for the other guys and I am sure when the pres­sure is on, they will step up for us.”

In to­day’s other match, the Jozi Stars host the Paarl Rocks at the Wan­der­ers in Jo­han­nes­burg (11am).

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