MSL: Quick-fire weekend tips

Cricket ball and bails on cricket field

We take a look at the three Mzansi Super League fixtures set to take place this weekend. 

There are three Mzansi Super League fixtures taking place across the country on Saturday and Sunday. The Jozi Stars and the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants open up the weekend's action when they clash on Saturday at Bidvest Wanderers.

Sunday’s proceedings take us first to Kingsmead where the Durban Heat face the Cape Town Blitz before we head to Eurolux Boland Park to see the Paarl Rocks face the Tshwane Spartans.

Saturday 17 November

Jozi Stars 97/100
Tie 35/1 
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants 87/100
This is quite a tough one to call. The Stars gave a very good account of themselves in their warm-up fixture against the Tshwane Spartans after an AB de Villiers special saw the Pretoria outfit set their neighbours a target of 218. The Stars would go on to lose by just five runs. A similar performance from the Johannesburg side would certainly see them past the Giants. Look out for big batting performances from Rassie van der Dussen, Dan Christian and Dane Vilas.

The Giants have assembled an interesting squad. They lack some of the big names present in the other franchises – not that a lack of star power ever hamstrung the Warriors. They more than make up for their apparent lack of star power with top South African talent. Experienced local battlers Jon-Jon Smuts, Junior Dala, Aaron Phangiso, Heino Kuhn and Ryan McLaren will ensure the Giants are competitive in this fixture. You can’t look past the Stars, though. Back the Jo’burg outfit to claim the spoils at the Wanderers. 

Sunday 18 November

Durban Heat 87/100 
Tie 35/1 
Cape Town Blitz 97/100 * Forecast Odds
Much has been made about how balanced the Heat’s squad looks in the build-up to this tournament. Kyle Abbott returns to Kingsmead to form part of an attack that will include Albie Morkel, Marchant de Lange, Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj. They’ll be without David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen who are with the Proteas in Australia. Hashim Amla, Khaya Zondo, Temba Bavuma, Morne van Wyk, Sarel Erwee and Morkel provide more than enough top and middle order power in their absence though.

It’s a bit tricky to call how the Blitz will perform on Sunday as they hadn’t played their opening fixture against the Spartans on Friday at the time of writing. Still, the Cape Town franchise struggled in their two warm-up games, losing twice to the Paarl Rocks. It’ll be interesting to see how the criminally underrated Sibonelo Makhanya does against his Hollywoodbets Dolphins teammates. The Heat boast a far superior squad and should make short work of the Cape Town franchise.

Paarl Rocks 27/20
Tie 35/1 
Tshwane Spartans 62/100 * Forecast Odds
The Paarl Rocks – who will be led by the evergreen Henry Davids – face a very tough opening assignment against the Spartans. They’ll be without several key Proteas for the clash with Faf du Plessis, Tabraiz Shamsi and Aiden Markram all playing in Australia the day before. Still, they can call on Dane Paterson, who is arguably one of the best T20 bowlers on the local circuit, to lead the attack. They’ll be looking to Michael Klinger (who has been a consistent performer for the Perth Scorchers over the years) and the Hollywoodbets Dolphins’ Vaughn van Jaarsveld to give them a solid start with the bat.

Some clever scheduling by the competition’s brains trust ensures that the Spartans will make the short trip to Paarl from Cape Town to complete their regular season Western Cape MSL commitments on Sunday. AB de Villiers and his boys haven’t played their opening fixture at the time of writing, but you can be reasonably confident that they’ll get the better of the Blitz on Friday. They should prove far too good for a spirited Paarl Rocks outfit too. 

Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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