Andile Phehlukwayo is loving the opportunity of playing alongside a new bunch of teammates with the high-riding Cape Town Blitz side in the Mzansi Super League.
‘For me personally, it’s exciting being in a different changing room and experiencing something different. Having a different perspective from sitting in another changing room is something that can improve my cricket, as well as my life outside of cricket,’ said Phehlukwayo after making his MSL debut with a hard-hitting 28 off 22 balls (2×4, 2×6) against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at Newland. His innings was the second-highest score of the Blitz innings.
Phehlukwayo got the crowd on its feet by hitting Aaron Phangiso for two towering sixes in three balls, using his feet to great effect for both shots to send them high into the North Stand.
‘The first one wasn’t such a good hit, but the second one came out nicely and I was just happy with my execution and my game plan, so everything went well there,’ he said with a smile.
His innings was cut short by an outstanding catch by Phangiso off the bowling of Proteas teammates Chris Morris. Phehlukwayo clipped a low full-toss hard through mid-wicket, where Phangiso leaped high and clung on to a stinging catch.
‘It’s part of the game, hey, sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t,’ he said with a rueful smile. ‘For my sake, I would have loved if the ball had just gone over him and then I could have carried on with my innings, but I think that’s how the game goes. I’m just going to try work a bit harder and hopefully contribute for the team in the next game.’
His three overs with the ball kept the Giants under the asking rate, with five singles coming off his first over (the eighth of the innings), followed by just six off his second, which included the wicket of dangerman Ben Duckett. His last over went for 13 as the Giants threw everything they had at him in a forlorn attempt to muscle their way home to a victory.
A feature of Phehlukwayo’s bowling on the night was once again his use of the slow ball.
‘I was trying to get Duckett off his rhythm and I was thinking what type of shot he would play because he is a short guy, so I was executing my slow ball wider so that he couldn’t hit the ball where he wanted.’
The MSL is set to tax players with its heavy travelling schedule, but that’s not going to phase Phehlukwayo, who is already a fan of the tournament.
‘I’m really proud that it’s actually started and all the Proteas players are really excited to be playing in the tournament and want to put in performances for their teams. I think the tournament has been played at a really high level, which is good leading up to the World Cup. The guys are stepping up and putting their names out,’ he added.
Phehlukwayo and the Cape Town Blitz play a taxing double-header this weekend, starting with a crunch battle against second-placed Jozi Stars at the Wanderers on Saturday at 7pm, followed by a local derby against Paarl Rocks in Paarl on Sunday at 3:30pm. They then head up to Port Elizabeth to tackle the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Tuesday at 7pm before a well-earned three-day break.
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix