The Heat have to start winning matches, and some if not all with bonus points. The Giants have lost second position in the standings to the Jozi Stars – and want it back, soonest.
The Mzansi Super League, meanwhile, is back at Kingsmead, where a large midweek afternoon crowd needs to justify the decision to afford the venue a tournament franchise.
While Reeza Hendricks is banging the door down at the Stars for inclusion in the Proteas’ World Cup plans, Hashim Amla’s favour is waning. The veteran right-hander has endured a poor run of form of late, and as much as class is permanent and form temporary, he needs to start to deliver on cue.
The Heat have to win this match to remain in contention. They weren’t able to beat the Giants earlier in the competition, though. Captain Albie Morkel knows full well that far more is required of the batsmen who have been prone to getting good starts, but failing to graduate to numbers of genuine substance. The arrival of Afghanistan all-rounder Rashid Khan will surely help.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
The Giants have a hefty arrival of their own in the form of England kingpin Jason Roy. He’ll likely slot straight into the XI, with Marco Marais the probable omission, unless he drops down the order.
Roy’s presence will yield a superstar feel to an otherwise humble, unassuming franchise – much like the Warriors from which they originate. Bowling-wise, seamer Chris Morris and spinner Jon-Jon Smuts have operated well in tandem – and will have to continue this relative success against a motivated Durban order.
Packed with Proteas
Ten of the Heat’s XI who took the field against the Giants last time boast international experience. Fast bowler Tladi Bokako was the odd one out. These experienced cricketers, batsmen in particular, need to come to the party. Khaya Zondo, David Miller and others are proving underwhelming.
This will probably be the end of the road for the Heat, who will remain rooted to the foot of the six-team standings – and be effectively ruled out of the running for the play-offs.
Where to next
Durban will stay at home to face the Stars on Friday, while the Stars will return to Port Elizabeth to take on the Tshwane Spartans on Saturday.