Our prediction is Jozi Stars to win the Match!
Jozi Stars sealed their place in the elimination play-off when they thrashed Tshwane Spartans by 101 runs, easily the biggest margin of the victory in the tournament to date. Paarl Rocks had to wait a little longer and in their game against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, which was a virtual knockout encounter, they prevailed by six wickets. No side has won a game batting second with more balls remaining.
With an away win apiece from their first two games against each other, there is more at stake for this game. The winner gets to play Cape Town Blitz in the final; the loser ends up with nothing. While Jozi players dominate the run-scoring and wicket-taking charts, Paarl have spread their runs and wickets around. Captain Faf du Plessis is the man they will be relying on and he comes up against international team-mates in Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier. They will need the experience of the likes of Cameron Delport and Dwayne Bravo to keep them in with a chance.
Jozi would have wanted to show that losing to Paarl at home in their previous match was just a blip and they would argue that that is exactly what their win over Tshwane showed. Even without Chris Gayle – who is unlikely to be available for this match – they piled on the runs with Rassie van der Dussen almost reaching three figures. Even more impressive was Nono Pongolo’s six-wicket haul that tore through Tshwane and ended their tournament in its tracks.
They have now won five of their last six matches and getting back to winning ways at home was important as they now get to play this match in front of their home crowd. They would be unlikely to make many changes to the side that performed so well last time out although they may consider bringing Dwaine Pretorius back into the side in place of Beuran Hendricks.
Ryan Rickelton, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Dane Vilas (c, wk), Pite van Biljon, Dan Christian, Duanne Olivier, Nono Pongolo, Kagiso Rabada, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks
In one sense, Paarl go into this match with a better recent run of form than Jozi having won their last two matches including beating Jozi at the Wanderers by six wickets. They then repeated the trick in their must-win encounter against Nelson Mandela Bay with Bravo and Delport to the fore.
However, prior to those two wins they lost on the road to both Cape Town Blitz and Tshwane and that hints at the uphill task they may face against Jozi. Having brought Henry Davids back into the side, they will need all of his experience and could also go into the match unchanged, hoping that the men that have done them proud in the last few days can produce two more big performances.
Cameron Delport, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Henry Davids, Grant Thomson, David Wiese, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Dane Paterson, Kerwin Mungroo, Tabraiz Shamsi
The Wanderers pitch has been playing quickly throughout the tournament and Jozi showed just how many runs can be plundered from it in their last match. The next few days are forecast to be warm and dry in Johannesburg with some threat of rain moving in around about the time that the match is due to start.
The Wanderers has been home to some of South Africa’s most iconic games and it is a venue that both batsmen and fast bowlers love. It’s quick, it’s bouncy, and the runs have flowed here in the MSL. It is the only ground in the tournament that has seen two matches with a run rate in excess of 10.
Jozi’s strategy in recent weeks has been to win the toss and bat first. It set them up beautifully against Tshwane while it also brought success on two other occasions during the tournament. They will surely try to do the same again. Paarl are more likely to want to chase, given that’s how they beat Jozi and Tshwane in their last two matches.
These two sides become the first two teams to meet each other three times and after an away win apiece, this one will decide who takes the honours and who goes through to meet Cape Town Blitz in this weekend’s final. Both of these sides have responded well to the pressure of having to get results and both have outstanding performers ready to step up when required. Which team holds their nerve the best could end up winning, but we have to give the edge to Jozi thanks to their home advantage, more in-form players and consistency throughout the competition.
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