Mzansi Super League Preview - Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks
Durban Heat captain Dane Vilas admits there is no point getting too worked up over the weather as heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal continue to threaten their early Mzansi Super League (MSL) fixtures at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead.
The opening match for the Durbanites against the Tshwane Spartans was washed out without a ball being bowled last Saturday, while their next two games against the Paarl Rocks on Friday and then the Cape Town Blitz on Sunday are also being threatened by severe weather warnings that have been issued in the province.
Vilas admits there is little they can do as the east coast, a place where he has played his domestic cricket for a few seasons, generally experiences seasonal rain in November.
“It’s not unexpected here in Durban, so the guys were a bit more mentally prepared for it,” he said of the Tshwane washout. “Obviously the guys are raring to go after putting in a lot of preparations in the last 10 or so days.
“We had a good week preparation for that first game and then there was a bit of frustration, but we go again.
“We know the weather is going to be a factor here in Durban, but we’re not going to let that bother us too much because there’s nothing you can do…you can’t fight the weather.
“We just need to make sure we prepare for each game, we’ll take each one as it comes.”
Whatever happens in the days ahead, the Heat can be assured that they still will have every chance of reaching the play-offs should they hit the ground running whenever they take to the field.
“You can’t look too far ahead,” Vilas added. “There’s still plenty of cricket to be played. We just want to get on to the park and play some good cricket and get off to a good start, which is the main thing. Everyone is fine.”
Meanwhile, his coach, Gary Kirsten, says that the time spent watching the rain has also afforded his squad some rare bonding time, which hardly happens in T20 leagues of this nature.
He himself has had time to observe some of their opponents in MSL 2.0 and his verdict is simple. “The standards have been really high and there’s good teams out there,” he says. “There’s six teams in the tournament, lots of good players around, which makes for quite an exciting tournament.
“I’ve had some time to watch the games and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen. It’s always funny when you watch a tournament and then you see a team have a good game one day and the next day they have a bad one. You look at the strengths on one day, but then you can see the weaknesses on another day.
“I think every team is like that. You’ve got to manage your weaknesses as best as you can and try to take advantages of their strengths. I think every team is setting up their game plan and they strategize with that in mind.”
While the Heat have been waiting out the rain, the Rocks have been making waves after they claimed a thumping 86-run bonus-point win over the Blitz in their first game.
What made the win all the more impressive was the 11th-hour tournament-ending injury blow that struck the Paarl side in the form of JP Duminy. They also lost Aiden Markram a few weeks earlier, but they have rallied nicely as proved in that first win.
Captain Faf du Plessis is hoping they can build on that in the next match.
“We’ve had one too many injuries before the competition even started so it’s challenged our batting order a little bit,” the skipper said.
“In the first game, I thought from a batting point of view we had a really strong powerplay. Guys taking the powerplay on, but then maybe lost out on around 10 or 15 runs from overs 10 to 20, so there’s a little bit of improvement to work on there.
“But we were challenged because of being that one batter short in our balance.
“With the ball, though, we were excellent. You pick guys for a reason to use their skillset in the conditions and all our guys were brilliant.”
All matches in MSL 2.0 are being broadcast exclusively live on SABC and there is live cricket streaming around the World.
The Durban Heat squad: Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller, Dane Vilas (capt), Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Abbott, Khaya Zondo, Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg, Wesley Marshall.
The Paarl Rocks squad is: Isuru Udana, Tabraiz Shamsi, Hardus Viljoen, Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Verreynne, Bjorn Fortuin, James Vince, Dwaine Pretorius, Cameron Delport, Sibonelo Makhanya, Henry Davids, Mangaliso Mosehle, Ferisco Adams, Kerwin Mungroo, Thando Ntini.
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