Our prediction is a win for Tshwane Spartans.
When these two sides met in the first match of the Mzansi Super League, Cape Town Blitz ran out comfortable winners. Tshwane Spartans have been playing catch-up ever since. Cape Town, despite a loss and a washout in their last two games, sit on top of the table thanks to four straight wins at the start. Tshwane have taken their time to find their groove but look to be building some momentum.
Last time out at SuperSport Park, they broke the ground record batting second to beat Jozi Stars and that successful chase of 187 must give them plenty of confidence. Cape Town, meanwhile, couldn’t make amends for their loss against Paarl Rocks as their game against Nelson Mandela Bay Giants was abandoned.
There are plenty of eye-catching potential battles to keep an eye on in this match. AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar against Dale Steyn is one, as is Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan against Jeewan Mendis and Lutho Sipamla.
TSHWANE SPARTANS PREVIEW
Apart from the opening night hammering at the hands of Cape Town, Tshwane have competed strongly in every match in the MSL. They were perhaps unlucky to lose to Nelson Mandela Bay and Durban Heat, both games where the rain intervened. They showed what they were capable of in their most recent win over Jozi, where a career best effort from Dean Elgar guided them home.
Spinner Jeewan Mendis has really come into his own as the tournament has progressed and if he can continue to get plenty out of the Centurion pitch, then Tshwane will be in with a chance. If not, they need their pace bowlers to step up. With Lutho Sipamla in good form and Corbin Bosch taking over from Lungi Ngidi, they are well placed.
They have named the same team for the last two matches, both played at home, so unless there any late injury problems, it would be no surprise to see them line up as they did against Jozi.
CAPE TOWN BLITZ PREVIEW
After the perfect start, Cape Town’s campaign has stalled. After winning four in a row, they bucked the trend by choosing to bat first against Paarl, only for that to backfire as they failed to get enough runs on the board. They would have wanted to get back on the field and get back to winning ways quickly, but the rain put paid to that.
Nevertheless, they are still at the top of the table and will take some beating. So far, as long as one or more of their batsmen has scored a half-century, they have gone on to win the match. They also have the bowlers to perform well and expect George Linde and Dane Piedt to have a role to play if Centurion takes some turn.
Cape Town have rotated their bowlers depending on conditions, but have recently lost Anrich Nortje to injury. That means Malusi Siboto should retain his place unless Nortje’s replacement, Nandre Burger, is considered ready to step in.
It has been a warm week in South Africa and that looks set to continue. Probably much to Cape Town’s relief, there is virtually no chance of rain on Saturday, so we should be treated to a complete match. The pitch should therefore be quite quick due to the lack of rain.
Historically one of South Africa’s quickest pitches, Centurion is a great place for fast bowlers. However, in the MSL, spinners – notably Jeewan Mendis – have also found success, suggesting it is a perfect T20 wicket. Batsmen should prosper, however, as an aggregate of 374 runs when Tshwane played Jozi showed.
Tshwane have won the toss three times so far and each time opted to bat second. It worked for them in the last match played here and no total will discourage them. Cape Town, on the other hand, have won the toss and batted twice, while only winning the toss and bowling once. Batting second is generally the way to go here, but don’t be surprised if Cape Town try the opposite.
This is a hard one to call. Had Cape Town got onto the field against Nelson Mandela Bay, it would have given us more pointers, but in terms of momentum, Tshwane have it and Cape Town don’t. Much has changed since Cape Town beat Tshwane in the tournament’s opening match. Playing in front of their home fans could give Tshwane the edge and we predict they will prevail – a result which will close the standings up somewhat.
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