Cape Town - All-rounder Wiaan Mulder has warned that there is no time for Tshwane Spartans to sulk as they prepared for their Mzansi Super League (MSL) Gauteng derby against Jozi Stars in Centurion on Thursday.
The men from the capital are still coming to terms with being on the wrong end of the highest chase in the competition’s brief history on Tuesday, when a string of dropped catches allowed the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to hunt down 189 in Port Elizabeth.
It was a tough loss for the Spartans to take and one that cost them top-spot on the MSL 2.0 table.
“Someone has to win and someone has to lose,” Standard Bank Protea Mulder said. “But it’s definitely not over, we’re going to keep our heads up and keep fighting, that I can promise.
“We’re just going to go out there and keep working hard like we have been. Hopefully our luck turns and we take the crucial catches.
“There’s still all to play for. It doesn’t help if we sulk about it. We need to keep working and make sure the next time we get the opportunity to win then we take it.”
Mulder recorded a career-best 52 from the unfamiliar position of opener for his side in the game. However, he admitted that their poor catching was what ultimately cost them.
He continued: “It was sad losing that game especially after we got 180 odd on that wicket. That should have been defended.
“We let ourselves down in the fielding department, which was very disappointing. The bowling was still good, it’s just that we didn’t take our opportunities.
“We just have to make sure we work even harder on the fielding. I mean if we took our catches, it would have changed the whole dynamic of the game.”
Defeat left the Spartans in third spot ahead of this next game at SuperSport Park.
They have 19 points and trail joint leaders the Giants and the Paarl Rocks by four points, with Mulder conceding: “It’s simple for us, we just have to win the next two games.”
Only the top team is guaranteed a place in the final it will host with second and third to face-off in a Qualifier.
For defending champions the Stars, meanwhile, things cannot get much worse. Seven losses out of seven have left them out of the competition and bottom of the table.
But batsman Rassie van der Dussen is desperate to end a forgettable season strongly. “I don’t think motivation is something that’s lacking,” he added. “We’ve got a team with world-class players and I think we all pride ourselves on our performances and what we do on the field. We’ve got three more matches to play and we’re going to give it our all to try and get three wins.
“I think we’ve got good characters in our team and not just guys that are going to roll over. So we’ll definitely keep going and try to finish on a high. Try and reward the people that showed faith in us and the fans who’ve come out and been behind us.
“More than anything, I think we owe it to ourselves to put in good performances in these last three games. We did win last year so we’re still a good team.”
Tshwane Spartans squad: AB de Villiers, Tom Curran, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klassen (capt), Theunis de Bruyn, Roelof van der Merwe, Lutho Sipamla, Pite van Biljon, Tony de Zorzi, Waqar Salamkheil, Dean Elgar, Wiaan Mulder, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corbin Bosch, Donovan Ferreira.
Jozi Stars squad: Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Reeza Hendricks, Daniel Christian, Temba Bavuma (capt), Duanne Olivier, Shoaib Malik, Simon Harmer, Ryan Rickelton, Aaron Phangiso, Lizaad Williams, Sinethemba Qeshile, Nono Pongolo, Jacques Snyman, Delano Potgieter, Dane Paterson.
- Cricket South Africa