Our prediction is Tshwane Spartans to win.
The Msanzi Super League gets underway with a night match at Newlands in Cape Town where the home side, Cape Town Blitz, welcome Tshwane Spartans to town. With this being a brand-new tournament there are a host of unknowns given that none of these teams have played together before. The six teams involved will play each other home and away before the top three enter the knockout stage. The group winners progress directly to the final where they will play the winner of the game between the sides that finished second and third.
This game sets up the prospect of seeing AB de Villiers taking on international team-mate Dale Steyn and who wins that battle might have an impact on the match overall. Unfortunately, several big players will miss the match while South Africa’s tour of Australia continues so it could be a slightly underwhelming start to the tournament.
Nevertheless, de Villiers is a huge draw and he marked his return to action with a half-century as Tshwane beat Jozi Stars in a warm-up match – an ominous sign for Cape Town.
CAPE TOWN PREVIEW
Cape Town will be led by Farhaan Behardien and have Quinton De Kock as their South African marquee player. However, neither will be available for this match while they are on tour in Australia. Englishman Dawid Malan – a consistent T20 performer in home conditions – is their overseas marquee player and much will rest on his shoulders with the bat. Furthermore, they have been rocked by the news that Samuel Badree is unavailable due to injury. That weakens their squad although Pakistani Muhammad Nawaz, his replacement, offers more with the bat which could enable the home side to field him alongside Dane Piedt or George Linde.
TSHWANE SPARTANS PREVIEW
Tshwane have an incredibly strong squad with AB de Villiers their South African marquee player and captain. Eoin Morgan is fresh from a strong tour of Sri Lanka with England and with Sean Williams on international duty and missing the first week, they can call on hard-hitting Rilee Rossouw if required. The experience of Dean Elgar and Rory Kleinveldt could also be very helpful for the Spartans as the tournament progresses, particularly once they lose some of their stars due to other commitments. That may prove important particularly given the fact that they lack spinners with a whole lot of international experience and thiThere is no rain forecast for Friday in Cape Town and conditions should be dry throughout the week. That could be good news for spin bowlers. Humidity will be relatively low which will not give much assistance to swing bowlers.
There is no rain forecast for Friday in Cape Town and conditions should be dry throughout the week. That could be good news for spin bowlers. Humidity will be relatively low which will not give much assistance to swing bowlers.
Newlands traditionally offers up a fast and bouncy pitch that will suit fast bowlers very well. Cape Town’s Dale Steyn loves playing here but Tshwane have enough pacers in their ranks – even though Lungi Ngidi will be absent – to cause some problems of their own. At the same time, it is also one of the grounds in South Africa that does help spinners. Batsmen with fast hands and an all-round game can flourish but it can find out those with a weakness against out-and-out pace.
The prevalence in a night game at Newlands is for the team winning the toss to bat first and attempt to set a winning total. However, with this being the first game of a brand-new tournament it is very difficult to assess what either captain might do if they win the toss. Enough teams – including all three in last year’s Ram Slam T20 – have had success in Cape Town batting second to make that a viable option too.
In AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan, Tshwane have the sort of players who should excel at Newlands. Although they may gain a boost from playing at from home, Cape Town are nowhere near full strength due to international availability and injury. That should hand the edge to the visitors even if Dale Steyn delivers. Again, exercise some caution as this is the first game of an all-new tournament so to some degree, anything could happen!