Our prediction is Cape Town to win.
This match pits two of the sides at the top of the table against one another in an early battle for ascendency. Jozi Stars welcome Cape Town to the Wanderers in Johannesburg which makes this a second away match for the Blitz. They have beaten all comers so far and may not be phased by having to get on the road.
Jozi, meanwhile, have won one and lost one and are yet to play away from home so will be keen to rack up the points in familiar conditions while they can. Both teams now have their South African internationals available which sets up some interesting potential battles such as the likes of Hashim Amla and Albie Morkel taking on Dale Steyn and Dane Piedt.
JOZI STARTS PREVIEW
Jozi did not make a great start to the competition when they went down by five wickets at home to Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. On that occasion, their batting line-up did not perform. However, they put that right in the next game when they crushed Paarl Rocks by 60 runs thanks to half-centuries from Ryan Rickleton and Rassie van der Dussen. They proved that even without Chris Gayle – who is now playing T10 in the Emirates – they can rack up big scores.
In Eddie Leie and Beuran Hendricks they have a pair of consistent reliable wicket-taking bowlers backed up by the likes of Duanne Olivier and Simon Harmer. And for this match, they will have their Proteas back so being able to call upon Reeza Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius is a huge boost for them and exactly how coach Enoch Nkwe integrates them into the line-up could go a long way to determining whether they can handle what Cape Town have to throw at them.
CAPE TOWN BLITZ PREVIEW
Cape Town have come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and deservedly topped the table with three wins out of three prior to this match. The biggest strength in their squad is that contributions have come from all over the place and they are not heavily reliant on a select few players. Kyle Verreynne starred with the bat against Tshwane, against Durban it was Asif Ali with the bat and Anrich Nortje with the ball and finally against Nelson Mandela Bay, Janneman Malan hit a match-winning half-century.
They are also a much stronger side now Farhaan Behardien and Quinton de Kock are back from international duty and the addition of Hussain Talat to cover for other absences looks a shrewd move, particularly now Dawid Malan and Mohammad Nawaz are playing T10 cricket. Steyn failed to fire against Durban but his brace of wickets against Nelson Mandela Bay is an ominous sign for the chasing pack.
It’s been a warm week in Johannesburg and that looks set to continue into the match. There is little to no chance of rain interruptions once play gets underway. So far, the pitch at the Wanderers has only seen one match and that proved to be a low-scoring affair. There seems to be plenty of encouragement for both spinners and seamers while not favouring batsmen or bowlers in particular – in other words a perfect T20 strip.
The New Wanderers Stadium is one of South Africa’s most iconic grounds and one which has seen some extraordinary run-scoring feats over the years. It was here that the Proteas chased down 435 to beat Australia in a never-to-be-forgotten ODI in 2006, for example. Expect both teams to be greeted by a hard, bouncy wicket that offers some seam movement and takes some spin.
In the first game in the MSL played here, Nelson Mandela Bay chose to bowl first and then successfully chased down a target of 125 in 18 overs. Like this match, that was a day/night game so there is every chance the two captains will want to do the same. However, Jozi have batted first in both of their matches so far so may feel they want to persist with that strategy. Cape Town were the first team to win the toss and choose to bat – in every other match, the side winning the toss has wanted to field so they are comfortable setting a target or chasing.
This match has all the makings of a classic. Will Cape Town make it four in four and push further clear at the top of the table? Will Jozi end their winning run and bring the whole pack back into contention? If Jozi do include Rabada, he should perform well at the Wanderers, but they have been hit and miss so far. Cape Town, on the other hand, have found winning combinations and have so much strength in depth that they ought to have too much for Jozi on this occasion.
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