Jozi Stars batsman Reeza Hendricks has scored two hundreds and a half-century in his last three innings
Our prediction is Jozi Stars to win.
This match, kicking off the week’s Mzansi Super League action, pits two sides that won handsomely at the weekend against one another. The race for the play-offs is now hotting up. Cape Town Blitz are six points clear at the top of the table after thrashing Tshwane Spartans by 60 runs. It didn’t take them long to brush off their defeat to Paarl Rocks.
Jozi, meanwhile, are in third – 1o points behind – after they swept Nelson Mandela Bay Giants aside by 81 runs on the back of Reeza Hendricks’ second century in as many games. These two sides are both full of confidence, have plenty of players in form and strength in depth to boot. When these two sides met earlier in the competition, Cape Town won by 62 runs – but it should be closer this time around.
There are plenty of things to look out for in this match. He is yet to score a century but Cape Town’s Janneman Malan has still not failed to reach double figures in each match – can Jozi’s bowlers keep him quiet? On the other hand, how will Cape Town’s attack, including Dale Steyn, handle the threat posed by Hendricks? Plus, a certain Chris Gayle is back in town.
CAPE TOWN BLITZ PREVIEW
Cape Town would have wanted to get back to winning ways and they did exactly that against Paarl. However, they didn’t have things their own way after being reduced to 96 for six and 101 for eight. Quinton de Kock saved the day with a fine century which eventually put the game beyond their opponents.
With players now starting to come back from the T10 tournament in the Emirates, that should strengthen Cape Town. Dawid Malan returned on Saturday, as did Mohammad Nawaz, who made an impact with three wickets. They remain unbeaten at home and they will be banking on making the most of that advantage.
Nandre Burger came in and did a fine job replacing Anrich Nortje, so it is hard to make the case for Cape Town to make many changes although they may consider recalling George Linde in place of Asif Ali to add some more variety to their attack.
JOZI STARS PREVIEW
Jozi continue to make predicting outcomes of their matches tricky given that they either win very comfortably or lose without putting up too much of a fight. Hendricks’ brilliance has set up two big wins and moved them up the table at the same time. He would join an elite list of players if he could score four 50-plus innings in a row.
Elsewhere, the top order is performing well, and wickets are being shared around the bowlers, making them a threat whatever the pitch is doing. Since coming into the side, Dwaine Pretorius has been improving all the time, culminating in his three wickets against Nelson Mandela Bay.
They have kept their team composition quite consistent and may be slightly reluctant to change a winning team, particularly since the players that came in for the last game – Eddie Leie and Beuran Hendricks – both took a brace of wickets. However, with Gayle now back from the T10, he could be in line for a start, perhaps at the expense of Pite van Biljon.
It’s not been all that hot in Cape Town over the last few days, with temperatures by the coast a fair bit cooler than elsewhere in the country. However, it has stayed dry and there is hardly any rain forecast early in the week.
Newlands is one of South Africa’s premier venues and always promises a great atmosphere. The Cape Town fans have plenty to shout about as well. Newlands is usually a happy hunting ground for bowlers; it is quick and bouncy yet receptive to turn as well. We’ve already seen some good run-scoring here too, with Cape Town racking up 180 against Tshwane Spartans and 175 against Nelson Mandela Bay.
When playing at home, Cape Town have won both matches batting first. They only won one of those tosses, however. The prevalence in day/night matches such as these is still generally to bowl first, so expect that to be on the captains’ minds when they head out to the middle.
Cape Town might be 10 points ahead of Jozi in the standings but there are chinks in their armour, particularly when batting. Paarl exploited them and so too did Nelson Mandela Bay before de Kock rescued Cape Town. If their top order does not fire, or if Jozi can get early wickets, which they are more than capable of, the home side look vulnerable. We are therefore predicting a second straight win on the road for Jozi.
Featured Bookmaker: Betway India