CAPE TOWN – For all the permutations the rest of the teams in the Mzansi Super League have to contend with this week, the one certainty is that the Cape Town Blitz will host the inaugural final at Newlands next Sunday.
It is just reward for Ashwell Prince and his team, who have been the most consistent outfit in the competition thus far.
Prince will hope though that his team bring greater intensity to the showpiece than was on display on Sunday. Perhaps the knowledge that first place on the log was secured prior to the start of the clash against the Durban Heat was a contributing factor, but the Blitz put in a shoddy display both in the field and with the bat to lose by six wickets.
The fielding was particularly poor with regulation catches being shelled that allowed the Heat to gain momentum in their run chase. Veteran opening batsman Morne van Wyk was the first beneficiary, with Van Wyk being dropped by Asif Ali at point off Nandre Burger when only on three.
The Blitz were made to rue this lost opportunity with Van Wyk anchoring the Heat innings with 58 runs off 46 balls.
It was not just Van Wyk that benefited from the Blitz’ generosity though. Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo offered Khaya Zondo two lifelines, which he took full advantage of to guide the Heat to just the second victory of their campaign with 67 off just 42 balls.
Equally, Prince will hope that Quinton de Kock maintains his blistering form in next week’s final after the Proteas opening batsman was once again the mainstay of the Blitz’s 161/6.
De Kock blitzed 86 not out off just 55 balls (9x4, 3x6) that propelled him to summit of the tournament run-scorers list with 407 runs.
But like yesterday proved, the Blitz are going to require greater contributions from their misfiring middle-order if they are to be crowed inaugural Mzansi Super League champions.
English import Dawid Malan’s consistent struggles is becoming more than just a nagging issue, while the form of Phelukwayo, Asif Ali and captain Farhaan Berhardien is equally concern.
There was at least some relief with Mohammad Nawaz showing a hint of return to form with a handy cameo towards the back-end before he was run out for 23 (11 balls, 2x4, 2x6) off the final ball of the innings.
At least, Prince and his team have the entire week to work on these faults unlike the rest of their rivals, who will be entangled in a tussle for second and third place and the chance to face the Blitz at Newlands next week. @ZaahierAdams