Durban Heat batsman Wihan Lubbe admits that only victory will suffice for the Durban Heat when they welcome the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium for their round seven Mzansi Super League (MSL) encounter on Saturday.
The KwaZulu-Natal franchise ended a difficult start to the 2019 campaign when they went winless in their first five matches by beating the Cape Town Blitz in round six on Thursday.
In a superb display in the Mother City, they pulled off one of the highest chases in the MSL’s brief history when they hunted down 182 at Newlands
The four points gained from the victory lifted them to 10 points – the other six coming via three wash-outs – but they still remain some way off in terms of challenging for the play-offs.
The Heat trail the Tshwane Spartans, in the final qualifying spot, by four points, with the Centurion-based team also holding a game in hand.
Their visitors to Durban presently share top spot with the Paarl Rocks on 19 points apiece.
“I think for the Durban Heat it’s pretty simple the way the weather’s unfortunately come our way a bit,” Lubbe reflected. “It pretty much means we have to win from here on, which we don’t think is impossible.
“I think (defending champions) Jozi Stars showed last year that in a tournament like this when you go on a run at the right time, momentum in 20-over cricket goes a long way.”
Lubbe himself starred for the Heat in that chase and seven-wicket triumph in Cape Town, recording a quick-fire 49 to compliment his captain and Man-of-the-Match Dane Vilas.
“I feel that we have a side here in Durban that definitely can go the distance in this competition,” the youngster added. “Hopefully we can show that over the next few weeks and hopefully we can show the Durban faithful that we’re worth supporting at the moment.”
For the Giants, their last match ended in a first loss of the campaign after they fell to a 31-run defeat to the Rocks.
Captain Jon-Jon Smuts conceded that it was a poor outing for the Port Elizabeth side, but was confident of a reaction in Durban.
“We were definitely off the mark in all three disciplines…batting, bowling and fielding,” he stated. “It was just one of those days where things don’t come off for you.
“We’ll definitely be looking to learn from this. Results such as this one keeps you on your toes and we’ll be looking to definitely bounce back big from this against the Durban Heat in the next game on Saturday.”
Smuts’ team has been the form side in the competition during the mid-stages of MSL 2.0. This after the Blitz had led the way early on.
What was pleasing for the Giants’ skipper was that his team are yet to hit their peak.
He added: “In tournaments like this you want to be peaking at the right time. And if we are honest with ourselves, we still haven’t played a really good game at ninety percent yet.
“We’ve lost a few opening wickets early on and then there’s been other areas too where we need to improve. We’re constantly working on getting better.
“Despite that, we’re still very much in control of our own destiny and we have four big games coming up starting with the trip to Durban.”
The Durban Heat squad: Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller, Dane Vilas (capt), Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Abbott, Khaya Zondo, Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg, Wesley Marshall.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants squad: Imran Tahir, Jason Roy, Chris Morris, Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Junior Dala, Matthew Breetzke, Onke Nyaku, Ben Dunk, Heino Kuhn, Marco Marais, Beuran Hendricks, Grant Thomson, Akhona Mnyaka, Ryan ten Doeschate, Nandre Burger, Dylan Matthews.