Our prediction is Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to win.
This game is something of a must-win for both Durban Heat and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. For the home side to maintain any slight hope of reaching the play-offs, they can ill-afford to drop any further points. For the visitors, after a thrashing at the hands of Jozi Stars last time out, they need to arrest any hint of downward momentum to keep their own challenge alive.
When these two sides met earlier in the tournament, Nelson Mandela Bay sealed a comfortable nine-wicket win when their top order and fast bowlers proving too strong for Durban. Once again, the battle between Nelson Mandela Bay’s experienced bowling attack and Durban’s own experienced batting line-up could be fascinating to watch.
There could be an international flavour to proceedings with plenty of former and current Proteas on show as well as the likes of England’s Jason Roy and Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan also now joining the MSL party.
DURBAN HEAT PREVIEW
Nothing is really working for Durban at the moment. They looked to be on the right track – after dropping Hashim Amla – against Paarl Rocks last time out before they collapsed, wasting a good start. Their 10-run win on the Duckworth/Lewis method over Tshwane Spartans is all they have to show for what has been a dismal tournament so far.
They have even tried batting first, bucking the MSL trend, but that brought them no joy either. However, with players coming back from the Emirates T10, they could yet finish brightly. Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was tipped to be a star man for Durban and although he will have his work cut out, his arrival gives their bowling attack more of a cutting edge. Brandon Mavuta is the obvious choice to make way for him. Pacer Tiadi Bokako, who has taken just two wickets in four matches, is another one who could make way – particularly if Durban want to load their attack with spinners.
NELSON MANDELA BAY GIANTS PREVIEW
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants have been reasonably consistent and solid throughout the tournament. That is why their defeat to Jozi, when they were dismissed for just 92 runs in their last match, came as something of a surprise. Another away game presents a challenge, but they have to see this as a good opportunity to get back to winning ways. They already have two away wins on the board so won’t be intimidated.
The management must be tempted to make some changes in the wake of that disappointment and they have options now the Emirates T10 is done and dusted. Jason Roy is now available and could replace Christiaan Jonker, who is the only Nelson Mandela Bay specialist batsmen yet to make a score in excess of 40 this season.
It is warm and wet in Durban at the moment – as it usually is – but the forecast suggests the rain may clear in time for this day/night match. The moisture around in recent days may slow the pitch somewhat and give further encouragement to the bowlers.
Two out of the three matches played at Kingsmead in the MSL have ended up with the Duckworth/Lewis method being used thanks to rain interruptions. Spinners are often in play at Kingsmead as the pitch has slowed in recent years. Batsmen will have to work hard for their runs, and scoring rates are lower here than at some other venues. There is always the risk of thunderstorms playing a part.
Every MSL match at Durban has seen the side winning the toss choose to field first. With rain always a factor here – only one match was played to a finish in domestic T20s last season – it is the sensible option. Nelson Mandela Bay have won the toss and fielded twice, winning on both occasions, including against Durban at home.
Going by form throughout the whole tournament, you have to favour Nelson Mandela Bay. Durban have not looked like a side capable of beating the best sides in the competition and their visitors tonight fall into that category. The one thing in their favour is that Nelson Mandela Bay will have had their confidence knocked by their last result. If Durban can strike early, they have a chance. However, we feel that on balance, Nelson Mandela Bay have more than enough firepower to make it two wins out of two against Durban and effectively end their MSL chances.
Features Bookmaker: Royal Panda