CENTURION – Tshwane Spartans batsman Dean Elgar is hoping they can kick on from their maiden Mzansi Super League (MSL) win of the season when they welcome the winless Durban Heat to SuperSport Park in Centurion on Thursday.
The hosts finally ended their own winless start to the 2019 campaign by beating the Paarl Rocks in a thrilling affair in the Cape over the weekend. It was a result that followed consecutive wash-outs in their opening two fixtures.
Elgar was the standout player of that performance, smashing an unbeaten 88 off 60 balls that helped gun down a testing 186-run victory target at Boland Park.
Now they are back at home where they will be hoping to complete a first match and hopefully a win – for the fans and for the Tshwane Spartans brand that was not done justice in the inaugural season of 2018.
“It was very important for us to start with a victory,” Elgar said. “Our campaign last year was very poor despite having so many talented players.
“In saying that, we have the same talented cricketers now this season as well. But we needed that win for our brand as well.
“Last year we didn’t do ourselves any favours, so to get that first win is good. To get it early on in the competition like now is great and hopefully we can kick on from here.”
The South Africa red-ball opener also wants to get their fans involved in round four.
“We’re back at home and hopefully we’ll have a good crowd behind us in that next game (against the Heat),” he said. “If we can try to do what we did in that first game and be consistent throughout the tournament, I’m sure we’ll only get stronger and the fans will be behind us.”
As for his own form, Elgar, who is widely seen as a long-format player, is just happy to let his bat do the talking.
“It’s started very well for me but it’s obviously very important for me to kick on from here,” he added. “I’m not a player that wants to just be a one-hit wonder.
“I want to try and replicate what happened in that first game as many times as possible over the next month.”
The Heat, meanwhile, also had their first two games canned on account of the weather, before finally getting on the park against the Cape Town Blitz on the weekend, a match they ended up losing by 10 runs.
“It was a tough one to lose in the end, but I think we can take away a lot of positives from that match,” captain Dane Vilas reflected.
“I think we definitely are closer to finding that blueprint. We’ll see where we went wrong in the last one, see where we can improve and adapt that blueprint a little bit better moving on to the next game.
“We have a quick turnaround where we go three games away, hopefully we’ll be able to play some good cricket and get going.”
Despite their 0-3 win-loss record so far, Vilas was optimistic that the tables could be turned in Centurion.
“It’s still very early and it’s still fresh for us,” he concluded. “We still got plenty of games to play and we want to try and get on to a nice roll.
“It will be tight because they’re in a similar position to us with the two washed out games. Both teams will be looking for a win.
“I know they’re a very good side just looking at their depth, but we’re pretty confident that we can put on a good show.”