Cape Town Blitz captain Farhaan Behardien faces a stern test of his credentials this week.
Not only must he lift his team after the Mzansi Super League leaders suffered their first defeat, but he needs to find a way to re-energise a group of exhausted players.
The Blitz have endured the most demanding schedule of all the six teams competing in the MSL T20.
Not only have they already played one game more – in some case two – than their rivals, but they were also required to pad up in the late game on Saturday evening at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, before heading back to Paarl on Sunday for the high-octane Western Cape derby.
The roller-coaster ride continues this evening, when the Blitz find themselves in Port Elizabeth for a top-of-the-table clash against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.
“We played last night, only got to bed at two, we had fours’ sleep, on a plane for two hours, straight from the airport here. Those are the facts. Those are the cards we were dealt,” Behardien said after the five-wicket defeat to the Rocks at Boland Park on Sunday.
“We were playing at 50 percent, and we took it to the last over. Our fielding wasn’t great.
“I can count off-hand, we gave away at least 15 runs in the field, and our bowling wasn’t as solid as it can be.
“I have been playing five T20s in eight days. Five domestic flights, one big international flight. That schedule alone is next level for myself, Quinny (de Kock) and Andile (Phehlukwayo). That’s what we are faced with.
“We will rest up and get to bed earlier tonight before travelling to Port Elizabeth.”
Although begrudging the Blitz programme, Behardien was quick to point out that the Blitz’s surrender of their perfect record may indeed be a blessing in disguise.
“I reckon it’s brilliant for the team. It is always nice to taste a little bit of defeat before playoffs and finals. Sometimes when you’re winning all the time, you tend to gloss over things. To taste defeat in my opinion is a good thing.
Match 12 takes place this evening as @NMB_Giants host a @CT_Blitz side coming off their first defeat of the tournament. Will the table toppers bounce straight back or can the Giants take advantage of their own winning momentum? #MSLT20 pic.twitter.com/XTyWxjo5er— Mzansi Super League 🔥 🇿🇦 🏏 (@MSL_T20) November 27, 2018
“We will lick our wounds and put it (the result) to bed as quickly as we can,” he said. “We simply never adapted from the Highveld conditions to the slow and low conditions in 12 hours.
“We never had enough runs on the board. The average score is about 146, and we got 140, so we always thought we were in the game.
“They had a senior batsman in Faf du Plessis batting through who kept it all together. We knew they were a batter light when (Michael) Klinger pulled out, but Faf held the innings together nicely.”
#NMGvCTB IT'S GAME DAY and what a game it is set to be!— Cape Town Blitz (@CT_Blitz) November 27, 2018
A top of the table clash awaits! Get down to @StGeorgesParkSt and show both teams some love#BlitzBrigade #CTBlitz ⚡️⚡️⚡️ #MSLT20 pic.twitter.com/zVDhu1kvzi
The Giants, meanwhile, will be looking to pounce in order to reel in the Blitz at the top of the ladder.
Currently six points separate the teams, although the St George’s Park-based outfit still have a game in hand.@ZaahierAdams