Our Prediction is for a Jozi Stars victory!
One of these sides has everything still to play for while for the other, they have only pride now they are out of play-off contention. Jozi Stars have genuine ambitions of topping the table and reaching the final after beating Cape Town Blitz last time out. Durban’s last game was a washout and they effectively limped out of the competition.
When these two sides met earlier in the competition, Jozi ran out convincing 53-run winners at the Wanderers. Reeza Hendricks was just starting his superb run of form on that day and how – or perhaps, if – Durban can deal with him in this game could determine how well they fare.
With Chris Gayle now back for Jozi there are plenty of eye-catching battles to look out for including if the West Indian comes up against Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
Durban Heat preview
It’s been a desperate tournament for Durban and with four games still to play, they know they cannot reach the play-offs. That will affect motivation although they owe it to the other teams in the competition not to slacken off. Even though their last match, against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, was a washout, they were struggling with their opponents on course for a big score when the rain arrived.
Their only win came against Tshwane Spartans at this venue when they prevailed by 10 runs in a match that was also affected by the rain. As you would expect from their league position, very few of their players are in any sort of form although Kyle Abbott has been consistent, and Rashid showed promise against Nelson Mandela Bay.
They made changes for that match and with the pressure somewhat released, they could give opportunities to some of their fringe players or even recall Hashim Amla, who hasn’t played in a couple of matches.
Jozi Stars preview
Jozi are flying at the moment and their excellent 50-run win over then-leaders Cape Town marked them out as genuine contenders for overall victory. Hendricks joined an elite list of players to make four consecutive scores of at least 50 in Twenty20 matches last time out and he will want to extend that record in this game.
Others are chipping in and they are not overly reliant on one or two players. Against Cape Town, it was Dan Christian’s turn to star, with a quickfire 22 and then four wickets showing just how strong Jozi’s squad is. They recalled Nono Pongolo and Duane Oliver and they shared five wickets – at the moment everything they try is working.
They may well keep faith with the side that did a great job last time out. There may be a temptation to recall Dwaine Pretorius, who played against Durban last time but otherwise, they may feel it would be unwise to tinker with a winning combination.
It’s been wet in Durban over the week, as we saw when Nelson Mandela Bay Giants were here. The forecast is for more rain in the build-up to the game and then as it starts the chance of rain increases. Prospects for a full game are not good.
As Durban is by the coast, it is prone to worse weather than a lot of other venues in the country. This season so far has seen three out of the four games played here affected by the rain. Spinners can expect some success as the pitch is slower than it used to be, and batsmen have to work hard for their runs – while trying to stay dry between the showers.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s decision to bat first in the last game was the first time a side in the MSL had chosen to do so at Kingsmead in the MSL. With rain so often a factor, batting second has been the decision of choice, but we are seeing more and more teams keen to set a target as the MSL goes on. Jozi won the toss and batted in their last two matches and the last toss Durban won, they also batted first.
Durban are in disarray at the moment and it feels like the only thing that is going to prevent Jozi from taking victory is the weather. They dismantled Cape Town last time out and a struggling Durban side should not pose them anything like the same number of problems. Jozi have too many players in form, too much power with the bat and an all-round bowling attack that should put Durban to the sword – if the weather stays away.
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