Our prediction is Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to win.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants meet Tshwane Spartans in a clash between two sides with the potential to serve up an exciting and close encounter. That is exactly what happened when they met earlier in the tournament when early wickets put paid to what looked like it might be a fairly simple Tshwane run chase.
Tshwane are now in the position where they have to win and hope others slip up; Nelson Mandela Bay are closing in on the play-offs but can’t drop their guard and allow anybody to overtake them.
There could be some interesting battles played out in this match, for example Nelson Mandela Bay’s Imran Tahir against Tshwane’s AB de Villiers, plus Jason Roy and Ben Duckett come up against their England team-mate – and limited overs captain – Eoin Morgan.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants preview
The rain that put paid to proceedings in Durban will have frustrated Nelson Mandela Bay as they looked on course to post a big total. Roy came in and hit the ground running and a Jon-Jon Smuts half-century had given them a great platform. Nevertheless, despite the frustration, they looked to have put the 81-run defeat to Jozi Stars behind them and were back to the sort of form that saw them win three in a row before that setback.
They have been fairly consistent in their team selection and may choose to field the same team that was doing so well against Durban. As the Port Elizabeth pitch seems to be getting slower as the tournament goes on, out and out pace may not be the way to go, which favours their bowling attack.
Tshwane Spartans preview
Tshwane Spartans are now in the position of having to go all out to win with bonus points and hope that they get some favours from other teams. With the pressure off, that could make them a dangerous outfit. They might feel that the loss to Nelson Mandela Bay having set up a winning position has done much to leave them in the situation they are now in.
However, they have been far from convincing on the road so far, including a defeat to Durban and a narrow one-run win over Paarl Rocks. That could play on their minds a little as they take on a side which is settled. With one innings behind him, Morgan could be a man to watch for Tshwane, as he could provide some fireworks along with AB de Villiers – particularly if they are given instructions to bat with complete freedom.
Tshwane have used more players than any of the other five teams in the competition and that might hint at why they have not done better. It also means that predicting their team line-up is difficult – there is every chance they will chop and change again.
It is scheduled to be warm but somewhat wet in the coming days in Port Elizabeth and come matchday, more of the same is forecast. The rain is scheduled to arrive again late in the afternoon meaning interruptions are possible. Moisture around could make it hard for the batsmen if the ball is moving a lot in the air.
St George’s Park is often full of noise and should be lively for this Saturday evening match. It is the only MSL venue yet to see a match aggregate of 300 runs or more, highlighting how low-scoring the games there have been. It also saw the tournament’s only game that was abandoned without a ball bowled.
The side winning the toss here throughout the MSL so far has gone on to win the match. Interestingly, Nelson Mandela Bay have won batting second, won batting first and lost when they were asked to bat first. Exactly what conditions the captains are presented with will determine what they want to do but Tshwane have stuck rigidly to their policy of batting second throughout the competition. Nelson Mandela Bay have been more flexible.
While this does have the potential to be a close match, Nelson Mandela Bay should have the edge and be too strong for Tshwane. They’ve shown good form at home and looked on course for another win before the rain arrived in Durban. With the likes of Smuts and Roy on form, things are coming together nicely for Nelson Mandela and this should be where Tshwane’s play-off chances end once and for all.
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