Giants face testing run-in to playoffs
The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants face three of the biggest games of their short existence over the next week or so as they attempt to clinch a Mzansi Super League 2.0 playoff berth.
There have been one or two wobbles in the past two matches that resulted in losses against the Paarl Rocks in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday and the Durban Heat at Kingsmead on Saturday.
That’s two defeats in a row after going through the first five games unbeaten.
Captain Jon-Jon Smuts has spoken about peaking at the right time in this competition and what the Giants need now is a victory to get them back on the right path.
And that win needs to come soon, preferably against the Tshwane Spartans at St George’s Park on Tuesday. The match starts at 5.30pm.
The Giants missed out on the playoffs by a single point in the inaugural season last year and that is the last thing they want to happen this time around.
To safely avoid that they will probably have to win two out of their last three round-robin games.
Smuts knows it’s approaching squeaky bum time.
“I said it before the game against Durban Heat. Every game is a big game in this competition,” Smuts said after the six-wicket loss in Durban on Saturday.
“I haven’t looked at the maths, but even if the Jozi Stars are out, there are still five teams that could come first and that just shows how close the competition is this year.
“We will treat every game as a must-win game in trying to get into that top three.”
Smuts admitted his team were off the mark again but also credited the Heat’s performance in chasing down a ground record target of 174.
“Sometimes the other team is just better than you and you have to accept that and I think that was probably the case today.
“Also, our bowlers didn’t bowl as well as they could have in the power play, but that’s the nature of the game.
“Then the Durban Heat controlled overs six to 12 really well with the ball.
“Keshav and Ravi bowled really well and that’s where we struggled a bit. In the end, we were probably 10 or 15 short.”
But the Giants skipper was happy at the break after having posted 173 for six.
“At halfway, I was very confident. And then things didn’t go our way and we had a few fumbles here and there.
“You can probably add up five or six runs in the field. Junior Dala, he could have nicked Wihan Lubbe off first ball and I think that over went for 28.
“Things like that can change a game, if he nicks him off first ball, maybe the over goes for six.”
After Tuesday’s game, the Giants head to the Western Cape to play the Cape Town Blitz in Cape Town on Friday before completing their round-robin programme against the Paarl Rocks in Paarl on Sunday.