Akhona Mnyaka of the NMB Giants celebrates with teammates after catching out Dan Christian of the Jozi Stars during their Mzansi Super League match at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Yet another horrendous batting display consigned the defending champions to their fourth consecutive defeat, and the competition in general to another game that will do nothing to attract larger audiences. 

The Mzansi Super League badly needs something to spark it; a tight finish, one of the big name players to produce something exceptional, or maybe a fight to break out between some of the players (doesn’t have to be on the field, social media will do). 

The tournament’s been running for more than a week, but it’s barely captured the imagination of the public - certainly here in Gauteng. Just 2844 people - including John Cena’s new best mate Sho Madjozi - passed through the Bullring gates for Saturday’s 12.30pm start. In fact maybe, Cricket SA should try and get Madjozi to do a mini concert at half-time, that could attract a crowd. 

The cricket certainly isn’t doing so. Chris Gayle, one of the supposed star attractions, bashed one six and was then cleaned up good and proper by Junior Dala for 11. If you’ve wanted to watch Gayle bat in this year’s MSL, you’d have to get to the ground early; he’s faced only 46 balls and scored just 46 runs, not the kind of returns CSA, which made him a marquee player, would have hoped for. 

Temba Bavuma then played a responsible innings. He spent time at the crease - 61 minutes - faced 31 balls and scored 27. It wasn’t a T20 innings, but he needed to be in and hope someone could stay with him. No one did. It was another tale of woe as far as the Stars’ batting is concerned.

Dala stood out among the Giants bowlers. His pace proved too much for the Stars batsmen and he was clinically accurate too in claiming 3/19. Imran Tahir also picked up three wickets, while Chris Morris’s good form continued as he claimed the wicket of the tournament’s top run-scorer Reeza Hendricks in the third over. 

Australian Ben Dunk and England World Cup winner Jason Roy then made sure there’d be no tension in the chase, bashing the Stars’ much vaunted opening bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier into various vacant seats around this stadium.

Roy needed just 12 balls to score 31, smashing four fours and two sixes, while Dunk was not out on 50 off only 30 balls, hitting four fours and four sixes in the process. The Giants reached the modest target with 65 balls to spare earning a bonus point in the process. 

The Stars drastically need to take action. They are not out of contention in the tournament but they need to find something to spark them. The tournament needs something similar.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport