Durban – With a week of team building and training behind them, Gary Kirsten’s Durban Heat side will come together for its first game of the 2019 Mzansi Super League (MSL) against the Tshwane Spartans at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead this Saturday.
The squad spent the first part of the week riding mountain bikes on the Drakensberg’s famous single track and then the second part honing their skills in two days of practice matches and training, ensuring that all the players have had a good time in the middle in the lead up to game one on Saturday.
“It was great to get away from cricket for two days and take in the beauty of the region that we’ll call home for five weeks,” coach Kirsten said. “We got to put the guys through some challenging mountain biking, something that I am very passionate about, and I think everyone got out unscathed!”
With the likes of England internationals Alex Hales and Ravi Bopara in the mix with the Durban Heat this year, to have them there to integrate with the team for an extended period has been beneficial.
“We are fit and firing and have both of our international players available which is great. I have coached in a number of these competitions and to have your international players here five days before the start of the tournament is massive.”
In their opening game, Kirsten’s men will take on a Spartans side that includes AB de Villiers, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen and Morné Morkel. Kirsten says he wants his side to make sure it focuses on its strategy before looking at the opposition.
“We have spent the better part of the week trying to work out our blueprint and understanding how we want to play.
“Closer to match day we will start to try and understand the Spartans and what their strengths and weaknesses are and plan as well as we can to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.
“Most importantly though, we need to build our formula for success,” he stressed.
The Durban Heat will feature a large amount of T20 experience in its batting order with a number of players with over 100 T20 caps. This experience mixed with some talented young players excites Kirsten.
“I am very excited by our squad! We have got a lot of guys who have played a huge amount of T20 cricket around the world.
“We know that T20 games are won and lost by very narrow margins and often it takes good thinking to get you across the line so I am excited to see what we can do,” he mentioned.
The first game of the Durban Heat’s Mzansi Super League campaign takes place at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead starting at 12:30.
The first ball is at 12:30 and tickets can be purchased at the stadium or at www.ticketpros.co.za
Durban Heat Squad:
Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller (retained player), Dane Vilas, Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj (retained player), Kyle Abbott (retained player), Khaya Zondo (retained player), Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee (retained player), Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg, Wesley Marshall.
DURBAN HEAT FIXTURES
Saturday, November 9: 12h30, Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Friday, November 15: 17h30, Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Sunday, November 17: 10h00, Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Thursday, November 21: 17h30, Tshwane Spartans v Durban Heat, SuperSport Park
Saturday, November 23: 12h30, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Durban Heat, St. George’s Park
Thursday, November 28: 17h30, Cape Town Blitz v Durban Heat, Newlands
Saturday, November 30: 12h30, Durban Heat v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Wednesday, December 4: 17h30, Paarl Rocks v Durban Heat, Eurolux Boland Park
Saturday, December 7: 12h30, Jozi Stars v Durban Heat, Imperial Wanderers Stadium
Tuesday, December 10: 17h30, Durban Heat v Jozi Stars, Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium
Friday, December 13: 17h30, Play-off, 2nd v 3rd
(reserve day if required on Saturday, December 14, 12h30)
Monday, December 16: 17h30, Final
(reserve day if required on Tuesday, December 17, 17h30)