Domestic / 25 November 2018, 1:30pm / Lungani Zama
The Durban Heat are surely getting tired of their violent fluctuations in the Mzansi Super League.
Try as they might, they simply cannot string a run of games together.
They lost their opening game to the Cape Town Blitz, then raised hopes with a tense win over the Tshwane Spartans.
The plan thereafter was to go to Port Elizabeth and defeat the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. Instead, they crashed to 10 for three, on their way to a nine-wicket drubbing. It wasn’t pretty.
“We didn’t plan to be 10 for three inside three overs,” coach Grant Morgan sighed.
“We are working as hard as ever, and trying to get some consistency going. We are not panicking yet, but we are not where we want to be.”
The biggest problem for the Heat is a lack of runs from the top. They have invested heavily in an experienced and powerful batting card, but it has flattered to deceive thus far. Indeed, the highest individual score this far for the Durban side is Khaya Zondo’s 49 not out against the Blitz.
There’s are no 50s. There are no shattering performances that upset bowling attacks and set the tempo for the rest of the batting card.
Zondo and Albie Morkel have had to try and make a play in each game thus far. While both may be internationals, it is hugely ambitious to expect them to keep digging the top tier out of holes.
To make matters even worse, Morkel is now a serious doubt for Wednesday’s match.
“He is yet to be assessed properly, and we would like to hope that it is not the worst case scenario. It would be a hammer blow if it was,” Morgan added grimly.
The truth is that Morkel’s influence is so great that he could be picked as just a middle-order gun. Indeed, Friday night at a bouncing St George’s Park might have been different if he wasn’t hit by freak injury.
He was flattened by a Vernon Philander arrow to the non-striker’s end, taking the hit on his left arm and his right hand. He went down immediately, and the swelling came up as suddenly.
“If he hadn’t been hit, and that ball went for four, we would have been 91 for five, with 31 balls to go. He was hitting it well, and could take on the spinners. It could have been a different story,” Morgan lamented.
That is the truth, but the Heat shouldn’t be a one-trick pony depending on their captain doing a Klusener for every crisis.
There was a lot expected from the likes of Hashim Amla, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen, but they are yet to catch fire.
Without Morkel on Wednesday, someone will have to take it upon themselves to be a hero with the bat.
The Durban outfit is short of those at the moment, and they might soon find themselves running out of chances to get in the playoffs on their own terms.
“The last thing we want is to depend on someone else beating a rival to get us through. We are not at that point yet, but we need to start going in the right direction.”