Mzansi Super League: 20 & 21 November Preview

Cricket ball and bails on cricket field

We preview the three MSL fixtures taking place on Tuesday 20 November and Wednesday 21 November. 

Tuesday’s only encounter sees the Paarl Rocks go up against the Jozi Stars at Eurolux Boland Park. Wednesday’s action opens up at Kingsmead where the Durban Heat face the Tshwane Spartans before we head to Newlands where the Cape Town Blitz go up against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants.

Tuesday 20 November

To Win Match
Paarl Rocks 91/100
Tie 35/1
Jozi Stars 91/100

Tuesday 20 November
19:00
Eurolux Boland Park

The Paarl Rocks will take plenty of heart from their narrow defeat in their opening game against the Tshwane Spartans. They fell one-run short of the Highveld franchise’s massive 203, with Cameron Delport’s 43-ball 73 setting the platform for a big push. Unfortunately, Mangaliso Mosehle (20 off eight) and Patrick Kruger (19 off 12) couldn’t get the Western Cape side over the line as Andrew Birch defended 13 off the last over. Dwayne Bravo (who won’t be available for the next few weeks because of T10 commitments) impressed with the ball, but far more will be required from Bjorn Fontuin and Dane Paterson who conceded a combined 89 runs from their eight overs.

The Jozi Stars were perhaps the biggest disappointment of the opening weekend as they limped to a five-wicket defeat against the Giants. The Johannesburg franchise’s middle order was decimated by JJ Smuts and will need to be far better against the Rocks. Nobody from the top order managed to break to 40-run mark despite three of the four getting starts. Eddie Leie and Beuran Hendricks both returned excellent figures, although there was no real pressure on the Giants to score quickly in pursuit of a meagre 124.

It’s worth noting that both team’s returning Proteas should be available. Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis and Tabraiz Shamsi should all feature for the Rocks. The Stars, meanwhile, will have their ranks bolstered by the returning Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius and Kagiso Rabada.

Verdict: Paarl Rocks 91/100
You simply can’t discount the momentum in these sort of tournaments The Rocks head into this tie off the back of an excellent performance, albeit a losing one. You also need to take into account the sort of effect an in-form du Plessis will have on this team. Great value on the hosts here. 

Wednesday 21 November

To Win Match
Durban Heat 21/20
Tie 35/1
Tshwane Spartans 82/100

Wednesday 21 November
14:00
Kingsmead

Grant Morgan would have thought his charges were on course for victory in their opener. With the Cape Town Blitz reduced to 83-5 in their pursuit of the Heat’s 157, Asif Ali produced what will go down as one of the innings of the tournament to snatch victory for the Blitz. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Heat, though. Khaya Zondo (49), Albie Morkel (45) and Morne van Wyk (26) impressed with the bat. David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen return to the side after getting back from Australia and could replace Temba Bavuma and Sarel Erwee who were both dismissed without troubling the scorers on the weekend. Keshav Maharaj will once again be key. He was the pick of the Heat’s bowlers, taking three wickets and conceding just 24 runs in his four overs.

The Spartans were made to sweat against the Rocks, but ultimately came out on top after Andrew Birch successfully defended 13 off the last over on Sunday evening. The Tshwane outfit will certainly need a better display from their bowlers down in Durban. Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams will be available for selection after returning from Bangladesh and could be options on a Kingsmead deck that has assisted the spinners in recent years. All eyes will, of course, be on AB de Villiers who played some incredible shots against the Rocks.

Verdict: Durban Heat 21/20
The return of Miller and Klaasen (both of whom are in pretty good touch at the moment), could prove the difference between the two sides. Back the Heat to get their first one the tournament in what could be another high scoring affair. 

To Win Match
Cape Town Blitz 91/100
Tie 35/1
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants 91/100

Wednesday 21 November
19:00
Newlands

The Cape Town Blitz top the standings after excellent wins against two of the pre-tournament favourites over the weekend, including a bonus point victory over the Spartans in the opening game of the competition. They’ll be keen to carry that momentum forward into Wednesday when they face the Giants. The Cape side welcome back no fewer than four Proteas in the form of Quinton de Kock, Farhaan Behardien, Andile Phelukwayo and Dale Steyn. The quartet arrives just in time too, as Asif Ali and Dawid Malan will have already departed for the T10 League taking place in the UAE.

The Giants caused arguably the shock of the opening weekend as they crushed the Jozi Stars in a brutally one-sided affair – this despite both of their openers being dismissed for ducks. The victory, of course, was set up by the bowlers with Smuts claiming figures of 3-20 off his four overs while Junior Dala was economical as ever. Ben Duckett anchored the chase with a 45-ball 75 before Rudi Second and Ryan McClaren got the Giants over the line. The PE-based franchise will be bolstered by the return of Chris Morris and Imran Tahir who will both add venom to an already destructive bowling attack.

Verdict: Cape Town Blitz 91/100
The Blitz simply have to be backed here. They've got all the momentum and will get a massive boost by the return of their four Proteas. 

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