CAPE TOWN – IOL Sport cricket writer Zaahier Adams dissects the first-ever Mzansi Super League Final and highlights five reasons who the hosts Cape Town Blitz succubed to the the Jozi Stars.
Over-reliance on Quinton de Kock
To expect De Kock to perform miracles in virtually every game is near impossible, especially in a format as variable as T20 cricket. It was almost as if the Newlands crowd knew that their team’s chances in the final had nose-dived when De Kock was caught early on.
“I knew that I was one of the main leaders in the batting department, but it was just unfortunate that the other batsmen didn’t come to the party. The boys tried their heart out, but it didn’t go their way,” De Kock conceded after the game.
What the pitch?
The inaugural Mzansi Super League final was surely an occasion to behold, but unfortunately the surface served up was not conducive to entertaining cricket. While every team wants to ensure home-ground advantage counts for something, it is clear that the Blitz were keen to play on a slower surface to not only neutralise the likes of Kagiso Rabada, but to also hinder the fire-power batsmen such as Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Dan Christian possess.
Unfortunately the ploy backfired massively.
The other Malan
After Pieter and Janneman Malan’s sparkling performances for the Cape Cobras and Blitz respectively, Cape Town cricket spectators have become accustomed to the Malan’s contributing significantly to their team’s cause. English international Dawid Malan is not one the brothers, but with that surname much was expected from him.
Unfortunately for the former Paarl Boys High pupil, he endured a miserable return home, particularly with the left-hander being the marquee international player for Blitz. A trip to the UAE to play in the T10 League mid-way through the MSL did not help him find any form of rhythm either.
Blitz coach Ashwell Prince said after his team’s final round-robin defeat that his players would step up “in games that matter”. Unfortunately in the game that mattered the most, they were nowhere to be found. The Blitz have some senior international players in their line-up, but they also floundered under the pressure of playing in a much hyped up final in front of an expectant home crowd.
Their “BMT” - big-match temperament - was severely lacking, which was highlighted in no better fashion when Blitz captain Farhaan Behardien and his Proteas teammate Andile Phehlukwayo were involved in a comical run out.
Although the Blitz found a way to top the standings which earned them a home final, they were simply not the same team once Anrich Nortje was consigned to the sidelines with an ankle injury. The Blitz needed his outright pace and hostility, and especially in the final when they were defending a low score.@ZaahierAdams