We're in for another pulsating night of CSA T20 Challenge action on Friday evening.
Following their first loss of the season at the hands of the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, the Multiply Titans will be keen to get back to winning ways against the Warriors.
At the other end of the table, the rock-bottom VKB Knights play host to the bizhub Highveld Lions at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberly. Nothing less than a bonus point win will be required for each side.
Friday 2 December
To Win Match
Multiply Titans 57/100 | Tie 35/1 | Warriors 14/10
The Multiply Titans were beaten pretty comfortably last time out by the Hollywoodbets Dolphins. Although the match wasn’t televised, I was at Kingsmead to watch the encounter. The Titans can probably count themselves a bit unlucky to have lost following a good display with the bat. Nonetheless, an excellent performance from Cameron Delport, whose 33-ball 62 laid the groundwork for an expertly timed chase from the Dolphins.
Let’s not focus too much on the KZN franchise here. Farhaan Behardien was sensational once again, extending his lead atop the run-scoring charts with a breath-taking 72 off just 40 balls. The South African has had an incredible season so far, scoring 263 runs in just six innings striking at 180.13.
One thing we may see is the reinstatement of some of the Titans’ Proteas. Quintin de Kock and Faf du Plessis could walk into any T20 side on the planet while Morne Morkel and Tabraiz Shamsi could also feature. Although not your quintessential T20 player, I feel that Dean Elgar could provide the top order stability that will take the Pretoria franchise to the next level.
His T20 average of 37.20 at a strike rate of 108.22 speaks volumes of his consistency at franchise level within the format. Elgar and de Kock to open in place of Vandiar and Klaasen while du Plessis will probably crack the nod ahead of Quasim Adams who has been disappointing thus far.
Their opponents for Friday’s encounter, the Warriors, wiped the floor with a hapless Knights side in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday evening. The Eastern Cape franchise continue to punch well above their weight, collecting the scalps of some of the country’s bigger franchises as they go along.
The side will likely remain the same with one of the bowling spots probably having to go to the returning Kyle Abbott - who makes way for the Protea seamer is up for debate. Andrew Birch, Basheeru Walters and Sisanda Magala have all been world-class. It’s a good problem to have for Malibongwe Maketa as he looks to build a championship winning side.
You can’t speak about the Warriors without mentioning Jon-Jon Smuts. The Warriors captain has been magnificent with both bat and ball, scoring 182 runs at 130.93 and taking seven wickets at an average of 13.71. If the Warriors are to get one over their more fancied opposition, they’ll need a huge performance from their captain.
While the Warriors have been magnificent, I just don’t think they have enough in their armoury to deal with the likes of de Kock, du Plessis, Behardien and Albie Morkel. They’re favourites for a reason and it would take a very brave punter to go against them at Centurion. Get on the Titans at 57/100.
To Win Match
VKB Knights 1/1 | Tie 35/1 | bizhub Highveld Lions 82/100
Friday’s battle at the bottom of the table will hold significance for both sides’ very faint hopes of a play-off place. The VKB Knights will be hoping for a late season renaissance, similar to the one they experienced last season while the bizhub Highveld Lions will try to capitalise on the return of Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma.
The Knights have been pretty average this season. In fact, their season can be summed up by their performance against the Warriors on Wednesday evening. The Free State franchise collapsed to a meagre total of 93 before the Warriors knocked the runs off without really breaking a sweat.
Rilee Rossouw is likely to return to the side while I’m not quite sure what the problem is with David Miller (he may well be injured although I haven’t been able to find out why he isn’t playing). Rossouw will add some much-needed venom to the Free Stater’s top order who have failed to get runs on the board more often than not.
I said it at the start of the season and I’ll say it again now: the bizhub Highveld Lions simply don’t have the squad to compete in this format of the game. Sure, Rassie van der Dussen, Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie are all quality players; but they just don’t have enough menace with the bat.
Stephen Cook and Temba Bavuma are hardly going to set this sort of competition alight while Kagiso Rabada is probably better suited to the longer formats of the game. The Lions have also so far failed to win any games away from home, with both of their victories coming at the Wanderers.
Neither of these sides will be confident heading into this game. I’ll be taking the Knights to get the job done, though. Rilee Rossouw is an excellent T20 player and will add massive value to a squad that needs a bit of a lift. This coupled with the Lions’ dire away form makes the Knights at even money a very good proposition.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.