Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: WWLW
Cape Town Blitz: LWWWW
Our prediction is that Giants will win their home encounter.
With the tournament entering the exciting middle phase of the league, every win brings them closer to the knockout stage. Both these teams have been the most successful so far and sitting at the top of the table. Cape Town Blitz has 17 points and Giants are placed second with 12 points from three wins. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants have lost only to Cape Town Blitz in their previous encounter at Cape Town. They would look avenge for their loss at the previous encounter. Giants batsmen Marais, Skipper Smuts, Heino Kuhn, Duckett and Rudi Second have scored runs and are raring to go.
Their bowling department is led by CJ Dala and all-rounder duo of McLaren and Morris. Imran Tahir and Phangiso take control the spin department. Giants had a handsome win against Jozi stars and Durban Heats while rain handed them a crucial win in their last encounter against Tshwane Spartans. They would look to beat Cape Town Blitz and capture the much-coveted Top position in the league table.
Cape Town Blitz were on a roll in the tournament by winning first four matches consecutively. However, they suffered a setback against Paarl Rocks a couple of nights ago. They are playing their third match in 4 days and players might feel a bit tired. They would want to win this match before a three-day rest period.
Their batting is led by Openers De Kock and J Malan, who are among the run charts. Their middle order with Asif Ali, Behardien, Phehlukwayo and Linde have played useful cameos down the order whenever they get their chances. Their pace department has exciting bowlers like Dale Steyn, Nortje, Siboto and Phehlukwayo. Their spin department looks gleamy with Dane Piedt and George Linde. The Blitz would hold a mental advantage by defeating the Giants by a huge margin of 33 runs in the previous encounter.
NELSON MANDELA BAY GIANTS PREVIEW
Expected Playing XI: JJ Smuts (C), Marco Marais, Ben Duckett, Wihan Lubbe, Chris Jonker, Rudi Second (Wk), Cordi Le Roux, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir, Sisanda Magala/Aaron Phangiso, CJ Dala
Pacer Sisanda Magala might be rested and Phangiso might get a match considering the slow pitch at St. George`s park. No other changes are expected in the playing XI.
Marco Marais – The stylish opener has scored back to back 40+ runs in both the previous matches and would like to take his run-scoring a notch higher in the next match.
Chris Morris – Morris has been good with the ball bowling economically and getting crucial wickets. He is yet to wield his bat in this tournament and will be eager to prove his worth with the bat too.
Imran Tahir – Tahir has been bowling superbly so far in the tournament and is amongst the wickets column. He would love to continue his good form.
Missing player: Nil
Stats from recent matches
Ben Duckett – 122 runs at strike rate 133 (HS -75)
JJ Smuts – 89 runs at strike rate 102 (HS – 62*) & 4 wickets at an economy of 6 RPO (BB -3/20)
CAPE TOWN BLITZ PREVIEW
Expected Playing XI: Farhaan Behardien (C), Jannemann Malan, Quinton de Kock (Wk), Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Andile Phelukwayo, George Linde, Dane Piedt, Dale Steyn, Anrich Nortje/Malusi Siboto, Ferisco Adams
Nortje may replace Siboto after being rested for their previous match. And their batting order will remain unchanged with the bulk of runs scored by the openers.
Quinton de Kock – De Kock is batting like a dream in the last couple of matches. He is batting aggressively at the top at a strike rate of excess of 180.
Andile Phehlukwayo – the all-rounder is sent higher in the batting order in a couple of occasions to score some quick runs and expect them to happen again. His bowling has been equally effective with wickets at a crucial juncture in the middle overs.
George Linde – the spinner has shared the new ball with Steyn and is bowling effectively by controlling the run flow in the powerplay. He has produced some lusty blows at the end of the innings.
Missing player: Dawid Malan, Samuel Badree, Mohammed Nawaz
Stats from recent matches
J Malan – 202 runs at strike rate 134 (HS -66) - Highest run scorer in the tournament so far
Andrich Nortje - 8 wickets at an economy of 6.9 RPO (BB -4/32)
St. George's park is one of the slowest pitches in South Africa. The run-scoring is not so easy when compared to the other pitches. Rains are expected to play a part in the match by bringing in DL method into the equation. Both the captains should be aware of it.
TOSS: WIN the toss, BOWL First
With the arrival of the rainy season and taking dew factor into consideration, bowling first looks a safe bet. Both the captains would be looking to chase down the target. The target score of around 150-160 runs could be considered par.