JOHANNESBURG - While India and Australia - the Proteas’ next two opponents - engage in Test battles on home soil, South African cricket supporters have had to make do with the RamSlam T20 Challenge, that hasn’t quite captured the public’s imagination.
That may have to do with all the rain - which has forced a ‘no result’ in six matches, four involving the KZN Dolphins - or the fact that the public might still be feeling let down by the absence of the Global League T20.
There have been concerns about the standard of play, with the terrible fielding under the microscope, but for David Miller, who’s played in major T20 competitions in India, England and the Caribbean it’s the lack of hype that has been most disappointing.
“It’s as competitive as any tournament I’ve played in,” Miller said. “We have lot of good players in South Africa. Generally our depth is very good. It’s always a high standard. (But) in terms of hype, compared to other competitions around the world, to be completely honest, it’s not what you find around the world.”
From Cricket SA’s perspective, given the last minute rush in postponing the GLT20, and then moving the franchise T20 tournament from it’s previous schedule in April 2018 to now, represented a logistical nightmare. It was always going to be a challenge garnering interest for an event many saw as second rate.
CSA is keen that the final week of round-robin play can raise interest. If the table topping Titans are removed from the equation, the rest of the points table is a log-jam that will lend itself to drama over the next few days.
“Obviously those Titans boys have been pretty strong,” said Miller, whose Knights team lost to them in Port Elizabeth last Sunday, but only after giving them arguably their biggest scare thus far in the tournament.
“It is challenging to play against a team like that, but they are definitely beatable. It was a positive, in that we didn’t have too many (runs) on the board, but then we still got into a great position to win the game, but then not getting over the line was disappointing.”
While the Titans hold an 18-point lead over the second-placed Cobras, just four points separate the Cape franchise from the Warriors in sixth.
Miller said the play-off structure for this season’s tournament is somewhat unfair, given that four of the six teams will make the semi-finals which raises the possibility that the Titans could end up losing and thus being eliminated without playing the final.
“You can scramble a fourth place and beat them in the semis," Miller said. "It’s tough, they play so well in the competition, go 10 out of 10 and lose in a semi... but that’s part of it, they knew it before the competition started. Everyone’s in the same boat.”
Miller and the Knights play three times this week; Wednesday against the Cobras in Kimberley, Friday in Bloemfontein against the Dolphins and against the Highveld Lions at Wanderers on Sunday.
“Hopefully (all the errors) will be ironed out come the play-offs and you’ll see the guys playing good cricket in the finals,” he said.