Chris Gayle and Jozi Stars coach Enoch Nkwe at Newlands on Monday. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed/IOL Sport

CAPE TOWN - “You guys keep mentioning my name, but (Reeza) Hendricks is the guy you should actually be wary of,” said Chris Gayle ahead of today’s highly-anticipated Mzansi Super League showdown between Cape Town Blitz and Jozi Stars at Newlands.

That is a compliment of the highest order, especially when it comes from the all-time leading run-scorer in T20 cricket, also known as the “Universe Boss”. 

But that is indeed what happens when you light up the MSL with back-to-back centuries like Jozi Stars opener Reeza Hendricks did the past weekend. Hendricks scored 104 not out against the Durban Heat on Friday, before following it up with a career-best 108 not out at St George’s Park against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Sunday.

“I would love Hendricks to make it three in a row! That would be nice to see!” Gayle said yesterday. “I am looking forward to opening the batting with him. With his form, maybe it can actually take a bit of pressure off me. You guys keep mentioning my name, but Hendricks is the guys you should actually be wary of. I am just looking to get off to a good start with him and enjoy the moment.”

Ever the globetrotter, Gayle jetted into Cape Town yesterday straight from his last assignment in the United Arab Emirates for the Kerala Kings in the T10 League. Having been a “gun for hire” for the best part of the last decade, Gayle is accustomed to swapping one dressing-room for another on two completely different continents.

Chris Gayle would love to see Reeza Hendricks score another century. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Chris Gayle would love to see Reeza Hendricks score another century. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“It is not so easy to be honest with you. Taking a long flight and then jumping onto a cricket field, but there are ways to manage to yourself and get the body up to standard,” the 39-year-old said.

“I have been doing this for years, so I know what I need to (do to) get myself ready and take it from there. It is not a big issue, but in the future I am looking at monitoring things a bit better from my point of view.”

With the stage set for an epic showdown under the guise of Table Mountain, Blitz import Dawid Malan doesn’t want his team caught up in the fanfare.

Malan, who also played in the T10 League before returning last week already, just wants the Blitz to focus purely on securing the all-important home final. The Blitz basically need one more victory from their last three home matches to ensure that all roads lead to Newlands next Sunday for the showpiece match.

“I think momentum is key. We started really well and the team has done really well to keep the momentum going while I was away. To be on top is good, but that means we are being chased by everyone else,” Malan said.

@ZaahierAdams


Cape Times

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