Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz: De Kock has chance to blast away gloom

Quinton De Kock
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Ed Hawkins assesses the impact of rain in Durban as the Heat try to get their season up and running on Sunday

"Fortunately there is an edge for us on the top bat market. De Kock has around about a 34% win rate in franchise leagues for top runscorer"

Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz
Sunday 17 November, 08:00
Live on Bt Sport 3

Heat damp

All three of Durban Heat's matches have been washed out as violent storms have caused mayhem on South Africa's east coast. Their latest match, against Paarl Rocks on Friday, was called off ten minutes before the toss because the outfield was too wet after days of rain. There has to be doubt this will go ahead.

The Heat may also fail to live up to their name thanks to a squad which hardly sets the pulse racing. Alex Hales and Ravi Bopara are their two overseas picks. Hales had a poor time in the Caribbean Premier League. Bopara is more solid than spectacular and should return to the mean after a heroic swansong with Essex.

The game changers are likely to be with the ball. Pacers Kyle Abbott and Andile Phehlukawayo are excellent while spinner Keshav Maharaj has a career economy rate of under seven an over. Dane Vilas leads.

It may not be entirely surprising that their result record since the start of the 2018 season is three wins and six losses. They have lost each of their last four when batting first.

Blitz top heavy

The Blitz have two wins from three. Twice they hammered the Jozi Stars, keeping them rock-bottom of the league. Ordinarily we'd reckon two such strong showings against the holders would be a big tick but we're not so sure because of Jozi's unbalanced squad.

More worrying was their performance against Paarl Rocks - bowled out for 84 after conceding 179. If their impressive front four does not do the damage, they could be in trouble. Quinton de Kock, Jannie Malan, Moeen Ali (interchangeable with Asif Ali it seems) and Liam Livingstone impress but there's very little to come. Mohammad Nawaz and Avie Mgijima are as bang average as it gets if picked at Nos 5 and 6.

They also seem to have become pre-occupied with pace. Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Wahab Riaz and Anrich Nortje in the same squad seems like overkill. Where's the mystery spinner?

Runs in short supply

Kingsmead is a ground with a reputation for assisting the bowlers. The scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent) in the last five read: 121-2/159-1/133-1/128-2/139-2. More than 1609 has been busted five times since November 2016 (15 games). Bad weather has consistently disrupted matches. More rain is forecast so it seems highly unlikely that a full T20 will be possible.

Reduced overs

In a possible ten-over thrash, Blitz may consider they have the edge because of their batting power up front so arguably they are value with Sportsbook making them narrow 4/5 favourites. Heat are even money. A wet ball, though, could render any sort of analysis or prediction irrelevant on match odds.

De Kock value

Fortunately there is an edge for us on the top bat market. De Kock has around about a 34% win rate in franchise leagues for top runscorer and with Sportsbook offering him at 23/10 (implied probability of 30.3%) we are comfortable getting involved. And regardless of the weather, too. Still, if it does chuck it down a ten-over game would obviously suit De Kock in the opening slot. For bets to stand we must have ten completed overs. Hales is 11/4 with Sportsbook to top for the Heat but we also note David Miller's 7/2. He could be promoted in a desperate rush for runs.

It would also be remiss not to point out Sportsbook's 15/8 that no fifty is scored. In all men's T20 at the venue (in all innings), a half-salute is occurring only 30% of the time so regardless of the weather it looks like a solid wager. Also don't forget the bet only applies to the first innings. The same rule applies - no ten overs, no bet.

Ed Hawkins,

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