Our prediction is Jozi Stars to win.
This match – a day/night game on a Friday night at The Wanderers in Johannesburg – pits two sides that badly need to get back to winning ways against one another. Jozi Stars are back at home after coming out second best in a close game against Tshwane Spartans. Durban Heat might be pleased to get away from their own home ground after a thumping defeat between the rain showers to Paarl Rocks.
As a result, these are the two sides at the bottom of the table, and the losing side will end the day at least three points adrift of the side in fifth place. However, they will both have at least one game in hand over the sides ahead of them, so it is not too late for them to make up ground.
Durban’s only win so far came against Tshwane in a match shortened by rain while Jozi’s sole success came at this venue when they smashed Paarl by 60 runs. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for fans of both teams so far. There are a handful of Proteas likely to be on show in this match, but few have really fired so far.
JOZI STARTS PREVIEW
Jozi have either been very good in the MSL so far or not very good at all. They followed up smashing Paarl by 60 runs with a 62-run defeat to Cape Town Blitz. They have really struggled for consistency and even chopping and changing their line-up has not done much to help.
Nevertheless, there are some positive signs. Reeza Hendricks scored a fine half-century against Tshwane and Simon Harmer took three wickets in an innings for the second time in the tournament. It took a record run chase at SuperSport Park in Centurion to defeat them last time out, so they can take plenty of heart from that.
All things considered, it is possible that for the first time in the tournament, Jozi will name an unchanged line-up for this match. Rabada looks to be finding some form and Dwaine Pretorius can expect another chance.
DURBAN HEAT PREVIEW
Durban have been disappointing in the tournament so far. Their only win came against Tshwane in a rain-affected game. Their batting, in particular, has flattered to deceive. No player has scored a half-century which has not given their bowlers enough to work with. Granted, two matches have been shortened due to rain but that is not much of an excuse.
Among the bowlers, only Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj and Marchant de Lange have really impressed but it hasn’t quite worked out as a unit thus far. They have tried changing their team; Morne van Wyk was dropped last time out while the rain meant Brandon Mavuta, in to make his debut, neither batted nor bowled.
Spinners have had some success at the Wanderers so far, so he ought to be given another opportunity. Durban have one of the smallest squads in the MSL; with Rashid Khan unavailable, they have limited options even if they do want to make changes.
It has been getting gradually warmer throughout the week in Johannesburg and there has been hardly any rain around. It is expected to be completely dry by the time the match starts. That should guarantee a typically quick Wanderers pitch that offers assistance to both pace and spin bowlers.
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. Expect both teams to be greeted by a hard, bouncy wicket that offers some seam movement and takes some spin – particular if the weather is as good as it has been.
Neither of these teams has batted first after winning the toss so expect them both to ask their opponents to bat if they can. It is becoming unusual to see any side in the MSL choose to bat first – even if sides are winning by setting a total, none of them seem to want to.
These two sides are in dire need of points and whoever loses this one will be somewhat cut adrift at the bottom of the table. We had high hopes for Durban before the tournament began but they have not gelled as a squad and so many of their top players are out of form.
Having pushed Tshwane all the way the other night, Jozi are at least making steps in the right direction and back in front of their home crowd, we are backing them to win this one and leave Durban in more trouble.
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