DURBAN – The Durban Heat are on the verge of mathematical elimination from the Mzansi Super League, after yet another horrendous weekend on the road.
Try as they might, their chances in the competition look absolutely terminal, with just about all their rivals finding form.
The tournament has entered its business phase now, with the scramble for playoff places intensifying. The Heat, however, remain rooted to the bottom of the standings, with a solitary win.
Their latest defeat was to the Paarl Rocks, having also lost heavily to the Jozi Stars on Friday night.
“We haven’t suddenly become a bad side,” coach Grant Morgan insisted.
He went back two months, to the time of the draft. At that point, many mused that the Durban franchise had ticked most of the boxes required for a tournament of this nature.
“Someone came up to me then, and said we had a really good squad. That hasn’t changed. We haven’t become a bad team, we’ve just played badly,” Morgan said.
That much is true about the Heat, who have found different ways to lose cricket matches. For those who have followed their fortunes, the Heat have struggled in most departments in their first six matches.
It remains a mystery, because the team itself is loaded with potential. Everywhere you look, there are Proteas or domestic stalwarts. And yet, none of that has mattered.
“We just haven’t had one guy play that big innings if you look at Quinny (De Kock) the other day, he made a hundred, but the rest of the batting looked like an emergency telephone number.
“But the Blitz still went on to beat the Spartans,” Morgan pointed out.
The Heat have failed to produce big knocks, and that has been their biggest problem. A lack of runs has meant that they are permanently on the back foot.
Things got so drastic that they dropped the out of sorts Hashim Amla on Sunday, something that might have been unthinkable in years gone by.
Amla has not looked himself all tournament, and the decision to sit him out was fair.
Morgan did not rule out more changes to shake things up in their clash against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants tomorrow.
They were trounced by the Giants just a week ago, and they now have to tackle one of the form teams in the tournament.
The Giants have also been boosted by the arrival of hard-hitting opener Jason Roy from England.
The Heat, meanwhile, finally welcome Afghanistan superstar Rashid Khan to their ranks.
The plan was to be in a situation where the playoffs were within touching distance, and then Rashid would come in and weave his magic.
Tomorrow will see him go up against another wizard in Imran Tahir. It is an intriguing duel, all on its own, and one that should hold genuine fascination for spectators.
It is a far more tantalising prospect than the Heat’s chances in the tournament.@whamzam17