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Mates all around

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Tom Curran doesn’t have to go far to look for mates in the Mzansi Super League.

Tom Curran of the Tshwane Spartans during the recent 2019 Mzansi Super League cricket match between Paarl Rocks and Spartans at Boland Park, Paarl. Picture: BackpagePix

Tom Curran doesn’t have to go far to look for mates in the Mzansi Super League.

In the Tshwane Spartans dressing-room, he has played alongside Morné Morkel and Dean Elgar at Surrey, and dotted around throughout the other franchises there are plenty of Englishmen he has either faced in county cricket or played alongside for England.

Jason Roy is at the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, James Vince at Paarl Rocks and in the Durban Heat team which Curran and the Spartans will face at Centurion today, there’s Alex Hales and Ravi Bopara.

“We are all pretty good mates, but out there you want to get one over your mate. There will be probably be some sly digs out there about who will come out on top, but it’s good fun,” Curran said.

The 24-year-old lost his personal mini-battle against Vince in Paarl last Sunday, but ultimately his team won the war, with the Spartans picking up their first win in the competition, defeating the Rocks by eight wickets.

Vince had taken to Curran towards the end of the home team’s innings, hitting him for three fours and a six in Curran’s last two overs.

“It was an unbelievable game of cricket. I started well, it was nice to get a run in the side, but I didn’t do too well at the end. I’ll bounce back. What was important was that we got that first win,” Curran said.

That win was timely, after the Spartans’ first two games had been washed out by rain. They feel they are into the competition now, and will be keen to build on the confidence of that opening win.

The Heat meanwhile have had it just as bad with the weather. Their first two games were also washed out at Kingsmead, and the first time they got to play – last Sunday against Cape Town Blitz – they lost by 10 runs.

Nevertheless, Kyle Abbott felt that there were positives to be drawn from that outcome.

“It was actually good to have a run out,” said Abbott. “We were very happy with how we pushed the Blitz all the way, only losing by 10 runs – they’re top of the table, had played four games already – so there were a lot of positives to take from that. Hopefully we can build on that, by putting in a good performance tomorrow night.”

Naturally both sides will be studying the weather forecast, which again, unfortunately, is not positive.

The Heat’s training session was shortened by a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, and more of the same is being forecast for this evening, at around about the time the first ball is due to be bowled.

Hopefully, if play is possible, the two teams can produce a spectacle, which the tournament badly needs as it tries to make an impression on the public’s consciousness.

Tomorrow’s match starts at 5.30pm.

Tshwane Spartans: AB de Villiers, Tom Curran, Lungi Ngidi, Theunis de Bruyn, Lutho Sipamla, Tony di Zorzi, Morné Morkel, Heinrich Klaasen (capt), Roelof van der Merwe, Pite van Biljon, Waqar Salamkheil, Dean Elgar, Wiaan Mulder, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corbin Bosch

Durban Heat: Andile Phehlukwayo, Alex Hales, David Miller, Dane Vilas, Ravi Bopara, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Abbott, Khaya Zondo, Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg.