Durban – With a week of team building and training behind them, Gary Kirsten’s Durban Heat side will come together for its first game of the 2019 Mzansi Super League (MSL) against the Tshwane Spartans at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead this Saturday.
The squad spent the first part of the week riding mountain bikes on the Drakensberg’s famous single track and then the second part honing their skills in two days of practice matches and training, ensuring that all the players have had a good time in the middle in the lead up to game one on Saturday.
“It was great to get away from cricket for two days and take in the beauty of the region that we’ll call home for five weeks,” coach Kirsten said. “We got to put the guys through some challenging mountain biking, something that I am very passionate about, and I think everyone got out unscathed!”
With the likes of England internationals Alex Hales and Ravi Bopara in the mix with the Durban Heat this year, to have them there to integrate with the team for an extended period has been beneficial.
“We are fit and firing and have both of our international players available which is great. I have coached in a number of these competitions and to have your international players here five days before the start of the tournament is massive.”
In their opening game, Kirsten’s men will take on a Spartans side that includes AB de Villiers, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen and Morné Morkel. Kirsten says he wants his side to make sure it focuses on its strategy before looking at the opposition.
“We have spent the better part of the week trying to work out our blueprint and understanding how we want to play.
“Closer to match day we will start to try and understand the Spartans and what their strengths and weaknesses are and plan as well as we can to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.
“Most importantly though, we need to build our formula for success,” he stressed.
The Durban Heat will feature a large amount of T20 experience in its batting order with a number of players with over 100 T20 caps. This experience mixed with some talented young players excites Kirsten.
“I am very excited by our squad! We have got a lot of guys who have played a huge amount of T20 cricket around the world.
“We know that T20 games are won and lost by very narrow margins and often it takes good thinking to get you across the line so I am excited to see what we can do,” he mentioned.
The first game of the Durban Heat’s Mzansi Super League campaign takes place at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead starting at 12:30.
The first ball is at 12:30 and tickets can be purchased at the stadium or at www.ticketpros.co.za
Durban Heat Squad:
Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller (retained player), Dane Vilas, Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj (retained player), Kyle Abbott (retained player), Khaya Zondo (retained player), Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee (retained player), Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg, Wesley Marshall.
DURBAN HEAT FIXTURES
Saturday, November 9: 12h30, Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Friday, November 15: 17h30, Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Sunday, November 17: 10h00, Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Thursday, November 21: 17h30, Tshwane Spartans v Durban Heat, SuperSport Park
Saturday, November 23: 12h30, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Durban Heat, St. George’s Park
Thursday, November 28: 17h30, Cape Town Blitz v Durban Heat, Newlands
Saturday, November 30: 12h30, Durban Heat v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Wednesday, December 4: 17h30, Paarl Rocks v Durban Heat, Eurolux Boland Park
Saturday, December 7: 12h30, Jozi Stars v Durban Heat, Imperial Wanderers Stadium
Tuesday, December 10: 17h30, Durban Heat v Jozi Stars, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Friday, December 13: 17h30, Play-off, 2nd v 3rd
(reserve day if required on Saturday, December 14, 12h30)
Monday, December 16: 17h30, Final
(reserve day if required on Tuesday, December 17, 17h30)
New Durban Heat coach Gary Kirsten is determined to make a winning start to his Mzansi Super League (MSL) tenure when last year’s wooden spoonists launch their 2019 campaign against the Tshwane Spartans in Durban on Saturday.
The KwaZulu-Natal franchise endured a miserable inaugural campaign, winning only three out of 10 matches to end last in the process.
But all that is now in the past as Proteas legend and India’s 2011 World Cup-winning coach has been brought in to turn the tables at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead. “Like any coach I want to win, I want to win the tournament and that’s what I’m here for,” he said ahead of the game against last year’s second-bottom side. “What happened last year is history.
“We’ve put our squad together; the process was a lot of fun and you hope that you’ve now put a team together that will go out there that will win the right amount of games that will get you into the play-offs.”
Kirsten is not the only new face at the Heat, with the Durbanites freshening up with new personnel all around. They have a new captain in last year’s champion skipper, Dane Vilas, who joined from the Jozi Stars, a new South Africa marquee man in Andile Phehlukwayo and a new foreign marquee player courtesy of England’s Alex Hales.
“You can never predict this game, but we hope the experience that has been added will help us,” Kirsten explained. “Well that’s the thinking at least and if the right guys hit form for us and get us to win big moment games it will help.
“Because that’s what it always comes down to…one over that makes a big difference or one great batting effort that can make a difference…so every team’s a good team and that’s why there was a draft. And we’ve assembled a good squad and hopefully it’s the right one that helps deliver success.”
The Heat coach also believes that making a good start to the competition against the Spartans is important and revealed that establishing the right game plan and strategy is also something they are placing emphasis on.
“Our main focus is understanding our blueprint and the way we want to play,” he added. “That’s what our focus has been in the build-up and it will also be an area that we spend a lot of time on early in the competition.
“We’ll try and plan as well as we can to try and give ourselves the best chance of winning the game. Most importantly we need to get our ducks in a row and build our formula for success.
“Then if we can execute on that with the squad we have, which I’m very excited about, we’ll have a chance of winning.”
Kirsten’s opposite number on Saturday, Mark Boucher, is a man who rarely allows a competition to go past without challenging.
That is what happened last year, but their fans can be assured that they will be right up there come the business end of the MSL in the first week of December.
Their draft business saw them bring in the likes of Morne Morkel and Roelof van der Merwe, veterans of SuperSport Park, and Boucher is hopeful they have the right recipe for success.
“Sometimes you can’t control what happens and that was the case last year,” he said. “This time we’ve brought in some familiar and experienced faces, we have a few good fast bowling additions, more death hitters in the squad and we’re well covered in the areas we may have fallen short in. We’re looking forward to it.”
Last year a slow start contributed to the Spartans’ final position and Boucher highlighted the importance of not repeating that this time.
He added: “We want to make a better start this time and ultimately get into that strong position that will allow us to compete for the trophy. In these competitions, momentum makes a huge difference, we saw that last year, and the start for us is one of the most important things.”
All matches in MSL 2.0 will be broadcast exclusively live on SABC.
The Durban Heat squad: Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller, Dane Vilas, 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.
The Tshwane Spartans squad: AB de Villiers, Tom Curran, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klassen, Theunis de Bruyn, Roelof van der Merwe, Lutho Sipamla, Pite van Biljon, Tony de Zorzi, Waqar Salamkheil, Dean Elgar, Wiaan Mulder, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corbin Bosch, Donovan Ferreira.
HEAD TO HEAD – Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans
Matches Played 02
Heat Win 02
Spartans Wins 00
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