The Durban Heat became the first team to be eliminated from the Mzansi Super League when their clash against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants was abandoned due to rain on Wednesday evening at Kingsmead.
Both teams were awarded two points, but the Heat required at least a bonus point victory haul of five points to remain in contention for the playoffs. Instead, their remaining three matches will now be purely for pride.
It certainly is disappointing for Albie Morkel’s team, who had just welcomed World No 1 T20 bowler Rashid Khan into their ranks. The Afghanistan leg-spinner immediately showed his class on his MSL T20 debut by finishing with 1/19 from his three overs before the match was called off with the Giants well-placed on 121/2 after 13.3 overs.
This was the second disruption on the night with the Giants’ innings already reduced to 17 overs after a previous downpour.
The Giants had also earlier handed a MSL debut to their marquee international Jason Roy. The England opener wasted no time to settle in after Giants captain Jon-Jon Smuts won the toss and elected to bat.
Roy smashed two sixes and two fours in a boundary-laded 26 off just 16 balls in a 42-run opening partnership with Smuts. After Marchant de Lange dismissed Roy, the Giants momentum continued with Rudi Second (26 off 18 balls) and Smuts. The pair added a further 71 runs for the third wicket with Smuts (62 not out off 45 balls) marching towards his second half-century of the tournament in the process.
Unfortunately for the Giants they could not build on the initial platform when a final downpour brought an early end to proceedings at Kingsmead.
The Giants move back into second place with 21 points after seven matches and remain in a position to haul in the table-topping Cape Town Blitz – 25 points – for the coveted top spot.
Durban Heat, meanwhile, remain rooted to the bottom of the MSL T20 log with just six points from seven matches.