TEAMWORK THE KEY FOR NMB GIANTS
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants captain Jon-Jon Smuts is hoping all his players continue to contribute during the Mzansi Super League (MSL), just as they have been doing during the opening four rounds of the competition.
The top-of-the-table team are currently preparing for round five on Saturday when they are scheduled to host the winless Durban Heat at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The Eastern Cape franchise has been efficient, consistent and ruthless so far in MSL 2.0, sweeping away everything that has been put in front of them.
They have beaten defending champions the Jozi Stars twice and also toppled the previous pace-setters, the Cape Town Blitz, in their last match during the week.
What has stood out for Smuts is that no one single player is excelling for his team. “The big thing about T20 cricket is that you can have one or two individuals stand up and win you games,” he said. “But when you have a team like ours that put in a really big performance all round like they did in the last game it’s really pleasing to see.
“I always say that when you’re playing well as a unit then that’s even better. Something is going to happen for you.”
Four of the top five bowling averages are held by Giants’ players – Junior Dala, Chris Morris, Onke Nyaku and Imran Tahir – while Smuts and Australian Ben Dunk fill the top two spots amongst the batting averages.
The skipper added: “I don’t want to say you are relying on someone else, but you always know that there’s someone that’s got your back. Someone that’s there behind you that you can back 100 per cent.
“If you do have those individuals scoring in every game it makes you wonder what everyone else is kind of doing. So for us, it’s really exciting that everyone is contributing.”
While the Giants are flying in 2019, it has been pretty much same old story for the Heat.
They cannot buy a win, although last season’s basement team can hardly be blamed for that. The Durbanites cannot even buy enough game time to try and win.
The rain seems to follow the poor Heat everywhere, even when they leave the familiar surroundings of Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium which they again experienced in Centurion against the Tshwane Spartans on Thursday.
Their three washouts and one defeat leave them second bottom on the table and batsman David Miller is not happy.
“It’s very, very frustrating because obviously we just haven’t got going,” he lamented. “I think that’s probably the biggest thing.
“We lost the one game that we did play so we’re obviously a little behind the eight-ball.”
But Miller is keeping his chin up ahead of the PE trip.
“Chatting to a few of the guys like Dane Vilas for instance, he pointed out that the Stars won one game out of five last year and they ended up winning the comp,” he continued. “So we’re definitely not out of the competition and there’s definitely still a lot to play for.
“We just need to get on to the park and get some games going. So it is frustrating but we are prepping as well as we can. There’s nothing much we can do about the weather to be fair.”
And despite their woes, Miller is still enjoying the MSL experience.
He added: “It’s always cool to be part of this comp. There’s just a different sort of feel to it.
“There’s some seriously good players from around the world as well as the Proteas so there’s good vibes. But it’s never easy when you’re not playing and we just need to get on the field and get the opportunity to produce.”