JONHENRY WILSON examines four elements that contributed to the Cape Town Blitz’s eight-wicket defeat to the Jozi Stars in Sunday’s Mzansi Super League final at Newlands.
Malan vs Malan
Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan formed a superb opening alliance throughout the tournament, but the Blitz lost the latter to illness for the final. He was replaced at the top of the knock by Dawid Malan, who ate up too many dot balls. Malan could’ve taken example from Kyle Verreynne, who at least milked singles and turned over the strike when there weren’t boundaries to be hit. When Malan did try to get going, he soon holed out to mid-off off the bowling of Duanne Olivier.
Peaked too soon, indeed
The Blitz surged to the top of the table and maintained their position for the entire tournament, but started to lose games towards the end of the round-robin stage. The Stars, meanwhile, shook off a poor start to peak at the right time. Ashwell Prince and Farhaan Behardien did their best to shirk suggestions that bad timing and the pressure of a home final would soon catch up with them. It ultimately did. After the match, Behardien, too, was asked to justify his decision to bat first after winning the toss. He, of course, insisted he made the right choice, but many pundits reckon bowling first on a tacky track should have been the decision.
Absent on the day
Nandre Burger seemed an adequate replacement for the injured Anrich Nortje, before the pressure really started tolling. Sunday’s final seemed a step too far for the burgeoning youngster, who tried to force the issue and was ineffective. Andile Phehlukwayo, meanwhile, was a bit of a no-show. He didn’t manage much with the bat, misfielded on occasion and was wayward and weird with the ball.
The Blitz simply needed better from their overseas guns on the day. Malan, Asif Ali and Mohammad Nawaz were substandard, collectively and individually. They didn’t deliver on the big moments, leaving the presence of all-rounders Jason Smith and George Linde all the more questionable.