Faf du Plessis prides himself on the Proteas’ ability to win away from home, and he is now keen to instil that same belief into the Paarl Rocks.
The Rocks travelled to Durban on Wednesday evening for the first time in the Mzansi Super League and came away with a bonus-point victory over the Durban Heat in a rain-curtailed nine-over slugfest.
Du Plessis and the Rocks now head to Port Elizabeth where they face the in-form Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at St George’s Park on Friday afternoon (2 pm start), where they will be seeking another bonus point victory.
“T20 cricket is about finding momentum, so that’s quite important with a couple of back-to-back games coming up. But also you want to show teams that you can win away from home,” Du Plessis said.
“Bonus points are very important when you play tournaments like these. As the log stands, there are obviously many teams that are on similar points. Even rained off games receive even points. So, if you can get yourself ahead, even if it’s just one point, it is almost like another win.”
Veteran opening batsman Henry Davids has been in form at the top of the order for the Rocks with the 38-year-old posting 119 runs at the incredible strike-rate of 167.60. In the bowling department, left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin has led the way with six wickets in the last two matches.
Du Plessis, though, believes the current good run the Rocks are enjoying is not due to individuals, but rather that the entire team is starting to hit its stride.
“The great thing about everyone performing is that you don’t rely on one or two players, so that’s good to see,” he said. “For me, it’s still pretty new, there are a few players in the team that I am still getting to know which is great because it creates challenges and you can see where they fit into which roles. It is really good to see everyone stepping up in the team.”
Meanwhile, the Giants will be hoping to maximise the benefits of playing in Port Elizabeth. The clash against the Rocks is the middle of three consecutive home games for Jon-Jon Smuts’ team. The first against the Cape Town Blitz on Tuesday was unfortunately washed out with both teams awarded two points each.
“It was disappointing (the rained out game),” Smuts said. “In this tournament, if you play well at home, and, if you pick up points in your home games, you should be in with a good chance at the business end of the tournament. The next two games are vital for us. Hopefully, we can play some good cricket.”
The Giants are increasing their efforts to make St George’s Park a fortress with a special discount ticket offer. The first 500 fans to buy their unreserved tickets - on Thursday only - will qualify for the reduced rate of just R1 to watch Friday’s match. The offer is available only at the ground’s ticket office.
“In our ongoing efforts to provide exciting promotions for our fans, we have decided, for Friday’s game, to charge R1 each for the first 500 unreserved tickets to be sold on Thursday only,” Giants commercial manager Christine Moss said. “We encourage fans to bring their ‘gees’ and support our powerhouse team as only Bay fans can.”
African News Agency (ANA)