Durban Heat batsman David Miller is hoping for a strong showing in their final home match of the Mzansi Super League season on Friday.
The KwaZulu-Natal franchise became the first side to be eliminated from the new Twenty20 competition when their clash against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants was washed out on Wednesday night, leaving them with nothing but pride to play for from their remaining three games.
They have six points from seven games so far.
In truth, it has been a forgettable campaign from the tournament’s bottom side, but they will be still aiming to end on a high against the play-off chasing Jozi Stars at Kingsmead in Durban.
Miller has been one of many batsmen to disappoint for his side, with the likes of Hashim Amla and Heinrich Klaasen also not at their usual best.
“Unfortunately we just haven’t found our rhythm,” the Standard Bank Proteas star explained. “I think if we go back to the drawing board we’re just going to have to obviously try and improve and finish strongly.
“We want to at least try and play with a lot of pride, try and get four wins out of the 10, which won’t look as bad, so that’s the goal.”
Only one Heat batsman – Morne van Wyk - has made a half century, with Grant Morgan’s team having to rely on the likes of Khaya Zondo, Albie Morkel and Vernon Philander for most of their other runs.
Looking ahead to the clash against the Jozi Stars, Miller says their focus is on their own game rather than the opposition.
“They seem to have started to peak since they beat us in Joburg,” he explained. “But we don’t need to focus on them too much.
“We need to regroup, take one game at a time and try and play the best game of cricket we can for the next three games. All the teams are really strong as we know, so there’s no easy games and we need to be on our best performance.”
The Heat still can have a major impact on the play-offs as they will follow the game with the Stars with trips to leaders the Cape Town Blitz and Tshwane Spartans.
But that has not interested Miller too much.
He added: “We need to win our next three games, so that’s going to be our goal. Whatever that does to the table it will affect certain teams, but that’s out of our control and not something we’re going to be concentrating on.”
Meanwhile, the Stars captain Dane Vilas is pleased that his side is peaking at the right time and hopes for another win that could put them top of the table, for a few hours anyway.
A bonus-point triumph will allow them to leapfrog the Blitz, who face the Paarl Rocks later on Friday.
“I'm very happy with how our guys are playing,” Vilas says. “We've been playing well the whole tournament really. We're very fortunate with the guys we have and look forward to our next game.”