Undercooked Heat could spoil Blitz home final hopes
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).