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Heat are hungry ahead of Giants showdown
Durban Heat coach Grant Morgan insists they will not throw in in the towel in their pursuit of a Mzansi Super League play-off spot despite the odds stocked against them heading into their round seven encounter with the Nelson Mandela Giants at Kingsmead on Wednesday.
The KwaZulu-Natal side have endured a poor campaign, managing just a solitary win in their six games thus far to prop up the table.
It is a poor return for arguably one of the best squads assembled for the inaugural MSLT20 season. With the knock-out stages now looming, it would take – in all likelihood – four bonus-point wins by the Heat to stand any chance of ending in the top three, with Morgan still remaining upbeat about their prospects.
“I haven’t done the math yet, but you have to keep going,” Morgan said. “I think whether we can qualify or not is not the only reason we need to win.
“You go out there trying to win every game and so the preparation and mindset will be just the same for this next one.
“We may tweak one of two things to try and get that mojo going, but it will all be with the same intensity and intent. Hopefully we’ll be able to pull it off.”
The big disappointment for the Heat has been their batting, with the likes of international marquee player Hashim Amla as well as Standard Bank Proteas David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen failing to fire.
“It only takes one person to make a big difference as we saw with the way Quinton de Kock played the other evening for the Blitz,” Morgan lamented. “The rest of the line-up resembled an international dialling code.
“So that’s what we’re after, that one big performance from one individual. Unfortunately, we’ve had too many 20s and 30s, but we’re optimistic that will change for us.”
Their opponents for the Durban clash, the Giants, on the other hand, have won four out of seven matches, although they suffered a surprise loss to the Jozi Stars on Sunday.
“The game of T20 cricket is unpredictable and we saw how the Stars turned over the Giants the other day,” Morgan added. “Who’s to say we can’t do that on Wednesday?”
The one big plus for the Heat, and for all the other teams this week, is the availability of their international marquee names, with the Durbanites welcoming Afghanistan spin sensation Rashid Khan to the mix.
“I think we’ve have bowled relatively well in this tournament so far. If he adds some more muscle to that it augurs well for us,” Morgan stated. “But there’s no doubt he is going to add fire power to our bowling attack.”
As for the Giants, it is back to the drawing board after that upset in Port Elizabeth in their last game. But captain Jon-Jon Smuts is confident of bouncing back on their travels. “You don’t become a bad side after just one game, so for us it’s been more about regrouping and ensuring we get a good performance in against the Durban Heat on Wednesday,” he stated.
The Eastern Cape franchise are bolstered by the inclusion of England star Jason Roy in their squad.
Smuts added: “Getting a world-class player like Jason will obviously add value. Hopefully he can bring something that we’ve been looking for.”