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The Eliminator of the Mzansi Super League has been set and it will be the Jozi Stars that host Paarl Rocks to meet Cape Town Blitz in the finals. The inaugural year of the MSL was a very exciting one and we are sure that the tournament is going to be a staple for domestic South African cricket in the years to come.
Both the Jozi Stars and Paarl Rocks confirmed their place in the Eliminator in their last group match. The Jozi Stars ended with six wins from 10 matches while Paarl Rocks finished five wins from their 10 matches.
Both the teams also played against each other twice in the Mzansi Super League group stages and won one match each.
Home advantage could end up being a big factor in this MSL Eliminator because it gives the home team some control over the type of surface being prepared. The home team will also enjoy having its supporters flock the ground and give it that boost in close situations.
The Jozi Stars have been very good this season. They have two out of the three top-scorers in the MSL and been an absolute batting powerhouse. Reeza Hendricks has 379 runs to his name while van der Dussen leads the charts with 410 runs to his name.
These two players have been remarkably consistent for the Jozi Stars and will lead the batting in this match as well.
Rickelton has also been in very good form and has got the team off to a good start in more games than not. The real positive for the Jozi Stars has also been the form of Dan Christian down the order.
The Aussie all-rounder has been good with the ball and destructive with the bat when he gets the chance. His last inning was a 19 ball fifty that was studded with six sixes.
With Dane Vilas and van Biljon also in the side, the Jozi Stars have enough batting depth to not worry about losing wickets at the top. It allows the top-order to play freely and the team to score some giant totals when everything comes off.
Jozi Stars also have the highest wicket-taker in their side to go with the highest run scorer of the MSL. Duanne Olivier has 18 scalps to his name and been very good in the Mzansi Super League this year.
His form should pose for a good contest against a talented Paarl Rocks batting lineup. Olivier will have bowlers like Rabada, Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, and Dan Christian for support. This is an all-international bowling attack that will have the necessary skill and experience to rise for the big occasion.
Ryan Rickelton, Reeza Hendricks, RVD Dussen, PJ van Biljon, DJ Vilas, DT Christian, SR Harmer, B Hendricks, Nono Pongolo, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier.
Dwayne Bravo and Tabraiz Shamsi brought out a stellar bowling performance in the last match against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and kept a strong batting lineup to a below-par batting total.
The pair of the bowlers took four wickets between them and gave away just 37 runs in 8 overs collectively. While Bravo bowled towards the death overs and kept the batsmen guessing with his changes of pace, Shamsi was able to extract spin in both directions to make run scoring against him very difficult.
These two and Dane Paterson are the standout bowlers in a good bowling attack. This bowling unit does not have the same kind of depth that the Jozi Stars have but should not be counted out either. If David Wiese can also contribute with the ball in these remaining two matches then Paarl Rocks are going to be very difficult to beat.
The real strength of Paarl Rocks is their batting, though.
Their top-6 batsmen are all capable of winning a T20 match on their own. Cameron Delport arrives at this match in fine form with a 45 ball 84 in the last match while Faf du Plessis has been in the form of his life over the last few months.
With Henry Davids, Aiden Markram, Dwayne Bravo, and David Wiese to back it up, the Paarl Rocks are not outgunned in the batting department. A big match situation is one where the temperament of a player becomes very important too. In Faf du Plessis, Paarl Rocks have one of the best leaders in world cricket and certainly the best captain South Africa has had in recent times.
The only thing we would change is to push back Markram back up the order to open the inning. He is considered to be one of the best young batsmen in the world and so giving him the best chance to make an impact is something that the Rocks must do.
Aiden Markram, C Delport, Faf du Plessis, Henry Davids, GM Thomson, Dwayne Bravo, Mangaliso Mosehle, D Wiese, Dane Paterson, Kerwin Mungroo, Tabraiz Shamsi.
The side winning the toss is likely to bat first unless the threat of rain is large.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The weather in Johannesburg has been a bit unpredictable and is expected to be a bit dicey for this match as well. The forecast starts off good but some rain is expected to hit the area around 9:00 at night local time.
Weather forecasts are not an exact science, though, and we desperately hope that the match can be played put without any interruptions.
The pitch in Johannesburg is going to be excellent for batting and we should have a high-scoring encounter between two strong batting sides.
The Jozi Stars have been more consistent with their batting and have the better bowling attack. They also have home support on their side. We, however, give a lot of weight to the presence of Faf du Plessis in the side for a crunch match. He and Bravo have won tournaments around the world and know what needs to be done. The Rocks match the Stars in the batting area and have a few dangerous bowlers of their own.
Back Paarl Rocks to win.
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