Cape Town Blitz all-rounder Vernon Philander is hoping they can move onto to the right side of fine margins when they welcome the Durban Heat to Cape Town for their latest Mzansi Super League (MSL) assignment on Thursday.
The 2018 runners-up have been through a bit of a slump of late having lost two matches in a row – both tight games against the top two sides, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and then Paarl Rocks.
Those setbacks by five wickets, with four balls remaining, and by two runs respectively have left them with some work to do to try and get back into the play-off places.
Ashwell Prince’s side are presently fourth with 13 points from six games.
The Giants (19), Rocks (15) and Tshwane Spartans (14) also all have matches in hand, meaning the match at PPC Newlands is pivotal for more than one reason.
Standard Bank Proteas ace Philander admits they have had it tough in the last few games.
“It’s always disappointing when you lose games,” he said. “There were fine margins in the last one, which was a good game of cricket, but unfortunately they (Paarl) came out on top.
“I think we disappointed ourselves with the start we had with the bat, losing so many wickets so early. That put us on the back foot because you ideally want one of your top five to kick on and score runs. So we lost it with the bat.”
And the Blitz will be counting on their top men, like Janneman Malan, Liam Livingstone and captain Quinton de Kock, who had set MSL 2.0 alight earlier in the competition when they fired.
If the Blitz think they have problems, they should take a look at the Heat.
The Dubanites will arrive in the Mother City still searching for their first win of 2019 after three washout in their opening five games. They lost the other two outings by going down to the same Cape opponents by 10 runs at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium, with their only other completed match seeing them lose by five wickets to the Giants, with just a ball to spare.
Both loses could easily have easily been wins and captain Dane Vilas knows that time is now almost up on their campaign.
“The mood in the camp is really positive,” he said.
“It was a disappointing game that first one when we made a few mistakes and were just unfortunate not to get over the line at the end.
“But we’re keen and excited to try and get one back over them. I think we owe them one and hopefully this will be the catalyst for a strong last five games.”
The Cape Town Blitz squad: Quinton de Kock (capt), Wahab Riaz, Liam Livingstone, Dale Steyn, Sisanda Magala, Anrich Nortje, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Janneman Malan, George Linde, David Bedingham, Vernon Philander, Marques Ackerman, Gregory Mahlokwana, Aviwe Mgijima, Khwezi Gumede.
The Durban Heat squad: Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller, Dane Vilas (capt), Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Abbott, Khaya Zondo, Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg, Wesley Marshall.