Paarl Rocks captain Faf du Plessis issued a warning to the MSL 2.0 chasing pack yesterday that the log leaders are still only playing at “70 percent”.
The Rocks beat the helpless Jozi Stars by five wickets on Sunday, despite being precariously placed at 53/4 at one stage.
To compound matters, it was all four of the Rocks senior batsmen – Henry Davids, Cameron Delport, Du Plessis and James Vince – that were all back in the hut.
This left a mountain of work for the remaining batsmen to complete if the Rocks were to get over the line, but youngsters Sibonelo Makhanya and Kyle Verreynne were up to the challenge.
The pair put together a match-winning 73-run stand with both players ultimately awarded the “Men of the Match” award.
Makhanya finished unbeaten with a superb 63 not out, while Verreynne contributed a valuable 28.
“I feel we haven’t played to our full potential. We are playing at 70 percent, so there is more in us as a team. Hopefully we can get a bit more out of our next game and peak towards the end,” Du Plessis said.
It certainly is ominous for the contenders with the Rocks finding a different player to step up each week.
The Paarl side are certainly not relying on a particular individual for runs or wickets, and really playing as a team.
Even after the tournament-ending injury to Dwaine Pretorius, who was one of the Rocks’ form players, last week they managed to find someone to get the job done.
Ferisco Adams stepped coolly into Pretorius’ shoes against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, and over the weekend it was the turn of Makhanya and Verreynne.
“That was a lot of fun,” Makhanya said of the partnership.
“There was a lot of pressure, but these are the knocks you dream of playing as a youngster. I just wanted to stay out there.
“Kyle brings in a lot of calmness to the crease and I love batting with him. We’ll take it one game at a time from now.”
Equally, Verreynne was just happy to contribute to the team’s cause after initially missing out on the draft and credited the Rocks’ team culture for creating an environment where everybody was capable of producing a match-winning performance.
“Firstly, just happy to be part of the tournament. Initially it was upsetting not to be picked, so getting some game time has been great. To be able to play in this team has been enjoyable and to play with the Proteas captain the knowledge that he has, particularly in T20 cricket has been really good.
“It has certainly been one of the better team environments that I have been a part of in my short career,” he said.
The Rocks will host the Durban Heat and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at Boland Park in Paarl tomorrow and Sunday, respectively.’