Our prediction is Durban Heat to win.
Durban Heat will become the fifth team in the Mzansi Super League to make their debut when they take on Cape Town Blitz at Kingsmead. Cape Town head to Kingsmead fresh from their fine win over Tshwane Spartans looking to make it two wins out of two. Durban, meanwhile, will want to give their home fans something to cheer about and make a good first impression.
Both sides are battling to make it into the top three at the end of the group stage and make it to the play-offs. The side that sits on top of the table goes straight through to the final where they will play the winner of the match between the sides that finish second and third.
Durban announced earlier this week that they will be captained by experienced all-rounder Albie Morkel, a man who has tasted T20 success at home and abroad with the Titans and Chennai Super Kings.
DURBAN HEAT PREVIEW
Morkel is the ideal man to lead the side given his experience guiding the Titans to Ram Slam T20 victory. He has also played in the IPL and spent time in England. Hashim Amla is their Protea marquee player and his availability for this match will also give them a huge boost.
One player they will miss is David Miller, who is part of South Africa’s T20I squad in Australia. Otherwise, they look to have a nice balance of players in their roster. In Morne van Wyk and Vernon Philander they have experience. In Temba Bavuma and Keshav Maharaj they have current internationals with star quality. They also have youngsters like Okuhle Cele and Prenelan Subrayen waiting to prove their worth. And in Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, they have a high quality overseas professional. In a warm-up match against a KZN Combined side, they ran out 31-run winners with Morkel, Bavuma and Cele the star performers.
CAPE TOWN BLITZ PREVIEW
Cape Town remain without captain Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn who are on international duty in Australia. They have already had to make changes to their squad after JP Duminy and Samuel Badree withdrew with injuries prior to the tournament. It could still take them time to find the right combinations.
However, the signs on Friday night were very promising. In fact, Cape Town will be loathe to make many changes after a superb all-round performance saw them get their tournament off to a winning start. The performance of their spinners in that match bodes well as they head to Durban.
It’s been dry all week in Durban with barely any rain, although that may change come the time of the game. It should stay dry but as ever in Durban – thanks to its location in the east – there is always some potential for weather interruptions.
As Durban is so close to the sea it is often humid. Some years ago, Kingsmead was a quick pitch, but it has now slowed. It is now hard and dry which brings spinners into play. It also offers good opportunities for batsmen to score big with pace bowlers having to work hard for any rewards. During last year’s Ram Slam T20, out of six scheduled matches at Kingsmead, five ended up as no results.
As this is a day game, the toss may take on less importance than at other times. However, if there is a threat of rain around, the captain winning the toss may prefer to bat second, so he knows exactly what his team needs to do at all times. There is no obvious advantage to batting first or second so if Cape Town win the toss, they may choose to do exactly what they did against Tshwane Spartans. There is no obvious advantage to batting first or second so if Cape Town win the toss, they may choose to do exactly what they did against Tshwane Spartans and bat first.
We expect Durban to be one of the teams in contention to win the tournament come mid-December. Weather permitting, they should be too strong for Cape Town and get their campaign off to a winning start. The visitors are missing key players who are on international duty whereas Durban are close to full strength. With Morkel leading the way and enough players in decent form, this should be a home win.
Featured bookmaker: Betrally India