PAARL – It is not often that a coach bemoans his team’s performance after a nine-wicket win.
But Paarl Rocks coach Adrian Birrell believes that his side are yet to hit their straps heading into the business end of the Mzansi Super League.
The Rocks arguably delivered their best all-round performance against Durban Heat at Boland Park on Sunday.
Their bowling unit was disciplined to restrict to Durban Heat to 154/6, with the spin duo of Tabraiz Shamsi (2/20) and Bjorn Fortuin (1/25) collecting three wickets for just 45 runs in seven overs collectively.
This left a relatively comfortable chase for the Rocks. Captain Faf du Plessis led the way with an unbeaten 76 off only 48 balls, with solid contributions from Aiden Markram (48 off 39 balls) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (28 not out off 23 balls).
However, Birrell – having watched the Rocks come out on top in the Cape derby when they toppled Cape Town Blitz last week, only to stumble against the Nelson Mandela Giants in their next match – is wary of the inconsistent performances of his team.
“It was a clinical performance from us. It has sort of put to bed the disappointing performance of the other day (against the Giants).
“The top two sides have been able to get on a roll and keep going. We have stumbled along, but you need to peak at the right time.
“If this is anything to go by, and we can reproduce it again, then we will be well-placed towards the back-end of the tournament,” Birrell said.
Although the bowling and batting units seem to be hitting their marks, the Rocks’ fielding remains abysmal.
During every match there is a litany of misfields, while dropped catches are a regular occurrence too.
Birrell is fully aware of this fact, and knows his team will only be able to regularly compete with the top teams if they improve this crucial element of their game.
“We are not a very good fielding team at the moment,” he said.
“We are working hard on it, but when you start knocking on and dropping catches, the confidence tends to go.
“It is something we speak about every single time we are together, and we are coming in with a good attitude every time we start.
“But like any match, it is confidence, and this win will hopefully get a bit of confidence going and we (can) stop making those silly mistakes.”
The Rocks have a frenetic schedule, with a trip to South Africa’s capital up next where they are set to face a desperate Tshwane Spartans on Wednesday evening.
They will at least be boosted by the return of West Indian superstar Dwayne Bravo and Cameron Delport from the T10 League.
“We are very excited to get them back. We need them. Both of them made a good contribution in our first match. We have been in contact with them. They (are) still very much part of the team,” Birrell added.
It is a big week for @faf1307 and the @Paarl_Rocks with three away games coming up.— Paarl Rocks (@Paarl_Rocks) December 3, 2018
Wed 5 Dec - @ABdeVilliers17 and the @SpartansMSLT20
Friday 7 Dec - @QuinnyDeKock69 and the @CT_Blitz
Sunday 9 Dec - @reezahendricks and the @StarsJozi #MSLT20 #PaarRocks pic.twitter.com/j4TiSorpTL