AB de Villiers’ Tshwane Spartans are hoping for home ground advantage to get their Mzansi Super League season into top gear.
The Spartans play their first home game on Sunday at 11am against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, currently second on the MSL log table, at SuperSport Park.
‘We have been up and down. We have had some pockets of good play and then also let ourselves down quite badly, hence us being one from three,’ said Spartans coach Mark Boucher. ‘Our bowling hasn’t been up to scratch. That is something we can look at. We did have three away games and won one, but now we are home, so hopefully we can create some momentum.’
The Spartans have also suffered the loss of key paceman Lungi Ngidi through injury, who was sensational in this year’s IPL, before he had even had a chance to turn out for the Spartans. Ngidi’s knee injury this week has opened up an opportunity for another young player to step up and take a shot at fame in the MSL – Corbin Bosch.
‘Losing Lungi was a massive blow for us. Bosch has come in for Lungi, but we know that Lungi is a world-class performer,’ said the former Proteas wicketkeeper.
‘It is nice to play at home and have a home crowd coming out to support us. The guys feel comfortable. They know the dressing room. But this is a different competition and they will still have to come out and perform.’
Another young player in the Spartans side who has been doing well is Gihahn Cloete, who scored 80 and 55 in his last two knocks for the Spartans and is currently the leading run-scorer in the tournament.
‘Gihahn has been great. He has batted with a lot of responsibility and been nice and aggressive. The key for me is how he stays hungry and tries to make that top position his own. He has to roll with that momentum,’ added Boucher.
Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Giants will be looking to build on their momentum after comfortably defeating the Durban Heat on Friday evening at St George’s Park.
‘We will obviously respect them as opposition. But my focus is on our guys and getting them hitting their straps. If we hit our straps, and they hit their straps, it is going to be a very tight game. Two good teams against each other,’ added Boucher.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix