'In these competitions you have to play your best cricket in the final stages‚' says Faf
Peaking at the right time is probably the best way to describe the Faf du Plessis-led Paarl Rocks side and their run to the Mzansi Super League eliminator.
In their home six-wicket bonus-point swatting of the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants‚ they earned themselves a MSL play-off ticket against the Jozi Stars at the Wanderers on Friday.
Du Plessis said they're playing something close to their best cricket but added the Stars will be a different and dangerous outfit.
The Rocks though beat the Stars on Sunday‚ a win that kept their play-off hopes alive.
“In these competitions you have to play your best cricket in the final stages.
"I certainly feel as a team we're doing that.
"In this game in the field‚ I felt it's the best we've been in the field in the whole tournament and we haven't been the best fielding side in the competition‚” Du Plessis said.
“The Wanderers is a different demon because you have to play on the Highveld and there's the pitch there.
"Hopefully we win that game and move on to Cape Town. Wanderers is a tough ground to play at. The Jozi Stars are also a very strong and well balanced side.
"They're also playing some good cricket but we'll be taking a lot of confidence in beating them recently. Our bowling plans were probably the best against their batting line-up in the tournament and we managed to put a stop to them."
Consistency has been an issue for the Rocks but when they've needed to manufacture a win‚ they did exactly that.
Du Plessis admitted that it was difficult to establish your best 11 in the first year of a tournament; something he knows very well from his Chennai Super Kings tenure in the Indian Premier League.
Du Plessis though said there's a big possibility of sticking to the same line-up for Friday's game.
“Up until the last two games‚ we haven't played consistently. We showed glimpses in different games of what we're about as a team.
"We were under-performing and that's why I think we're playing well as a team. We had a convincing win at the Wanderers and it was followed by this one‚” Du Plessis said.
“Sometimes in these competitions when it's new‚ you don't know what are your best combinations and who are your best players. I think we've settled on our best team.
"It'll be stupid to change a team that's won two on the bounce so if there's anything ridiculously obvious to change‚ then we'll do so.”
Dwayne Bravo and Cameron Delport came good for them in Wednesday's proverbial knockout game.
Bravo broke the back of the Giants' batting effort with 3/22 from his four overs while Delport catalysed the bonus-point chase with his 45-ball 84.
They'll be crucial cogs for the Rocks at the Wanderers‚ something Du Plessis is fully aware of.
“DJ is an explosive weapon for any captain to have. He knows his game very well and I can bowl him at any stage of the game and I feel that he can get me a wicket.
"For him to put in a massive performance in a big game is why we have him and him being the player he is. He's done it many times and performed in big matches on big stages‚” Du Plessis said.
“It's the same with Cameron because we know he's the kind of player who can take the game away from the opposition.
"He did it in an earlier game and you know that when he gets when you're the opposition‚ you're in trouble. He gave us the bonus point because without him‚ it wouldn't have been possible.”