Cape Town - Cape Town Blitz player Dawid Malan announced himself with an impressive 85 runs off 54 balls despite the home team going down by 7 wickets to Paarl Rocks in the first of two Mzansi Premier League warm-up matches played at Newlands on Monday.
Malan was the mainstay of the innings, before falling to Dane Paterson (5/26) in the 18th over of the innings. The Blitz eventually posted a competitive 145/8 from their 20 overs. Paarl Rocks chased down the 146-run target in the 18th over, to claim the victory but the result mattered little to Malan.
"Before the warm-up matches, we spoke about the results not really being important as we need to peak by Friday. If we are totally honest, what we did (in the first warm-up match) wasn't good enough. We were about 20 to 30 runs short and with the ball we probably bowled a few loose balls - but if you take that away, hopefully, we can learn from that and try to improve so that by the time Friday comes, we can peak and hopefully we are all playing really well and can put in a good performance," he said.
"These (warm-up) games are about the guys finding their feet, finding the fact that they are able to make mistakes and they can still rectify it - as long as the guys are learning and realise that what happens in these games doesn't really affect things too much. Ashwell has picked these guys - he backs them, I back them and it's about getting the best out of them because they are a talented bunch," he added.
Malan admitted that he struggled to find his rhythm in the early stages of his innings but soon got his timing going to find the boundary on 12 occasions - 6 fours and 6 maximums. Despite not having any support with the bat on the night, Malan still thinks highly of the young players in the Blitz squad.
"I have seen guys like Jason Smith play before, he looks a really strong character. Sibz (Makhanya) hits the ball cleanly and then you have (George) Linde who is a good bowler, has good skills and hits the ball as far as anyone," he stated.
"Just watching (Anrich) Nortje bowling, he bowled at the speed of lightning, that was pretty scary. It is exciting to see guys come through and experience it. I think the key in this tournament is to encourage these young players that when they do play, to just have no fear and show the world what they can do.
"If they don't come off, they are not losing anything but if they come off, they can show everyone what they are made of," he said.