Our prediction is Paarl Rocks to win.
This game pits two sides against one another who desperately need to pick up some points to stay in play-off contention. That Paarl are well placed despite a poor start to the competition points to their resilience and ability to bounce back. Tshwane, in general, have been disappointing as they were expected to be towards the top of the table at this stage. The two sides met early in the competition when Tshwane ran out winners by just one run.
Two of South Africa’s best contemporary batsmen face off against one another in Tshwane’s AB de Villiers and Paarl’s Faf du Plessis. We could see some international stars back from the Emirates T10 as well and at the time of writing, these two sides provided the top three wicket-takers in the tournament in Jeewan Mendis, Lutho Sipamla (both Tshwane) and Bjorn Fortuin (Paarl).
TSHWANE SPARTANS PREVIEW
Tshwane come into this match on the back of a heavy defeat to Cape Town Blitz. However, that match could – and perhaps should – have been different after they had their opponents in all sorts of trouble only for Quinton de Kock’s counter-attacking century to turn things around. Getting into good positions is one thing but capitalising on them is another and that is where Tshwane have struggled on more than one occasion.
They could really do with some brilliance from AB de Villiers to inspire them and they have not been helped by Lungi Ngidi’s injury problems. However, with the T10 competition now over, they do have options to come in to give them a boost. Rilee Rossouw and Eoin Morgan are now available. If both were to come in, then that would put Tony de Zorzi and Theunis de Bruyn at risk of missing out.
PAARL ROCKS PREVIEW
You can only beat what is in front of you, but Paarl did that in some style against Durban Heat in their most recent match. They have now won three of their six matches and are very much in contention to reach the play-offs. This is the first of three away games for Paarl this week and it is a period that could make or break their competition, particularly as they have suffered a couple of big defeats already on the road.
Like Tshwane, they should be strengthened now the T10 tournament is over. Cameron Delport adds depth to the batting while the availability of Dwayne Bravo could be a huge boost towards the end of the competition. Since du Plessis and Aiden Markram came back from international duty, the batting has fired so they may choose to keep things largely as they are. Bravo could come in for Grant Thomson or David Wiese.
It has been warm and dry all week at SuperSport park and although rain is forecast for later in the week, it won’t – fingers crossed – arrive until Thursday. There is a very small chance it could turn up towards the end of this game, but it is unlikely. The two captains can therefore expect a good pitch which has plenty of runs in it.
SuperSport Park offers a good contest between bat and ball, but the runs should flow. Tshwane successfully chased the first time they were here and overhauled Jozi Stars’ target of 187. Cape Town racked up 172 in the last match played here. In the tournament so far, spinners have enjoyed it here, with Mendis in particular excelling. That could be good news for Paarl, who have a strong spin attack.
Tshwane have won the toss and fielded in all three home games so far. De Villiers will likely want his team to do the same again. Paarl haven’t won a toss for some time but when they did win the toss in the reverse fixture, they fielded, as they did against Jozi Stars. Expect the side winning the toss to decide to chase.
This one could come down to the impact of one or two players on the day. It could even come down to whether the players returning from the T10 perform or not. Paarl have only beaten struggling Durban away from home so haven’t travelled well. Tshwane have blown hot and cold. Following a big defeat last time out, as well as facing the pressure of needing results to stay in contention, they could just find Paarl’s spinners too hot to handle.
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