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|Faf du Plessis||76||48||9||0||158.33|
The Mzansi Super League has reached that stage of the tournament where teams are going to start playing each other in return fixtures. Paar Rocks and Durban Heat have already faced off once in the tournament. It was a rain-affected match which Paarl Rocks won. We will hopefully have better weather this time around for what should be a good contest.
Paarl Rocks are on the fourth position in the MSL standings having won two matches out of the five they have played. Durban Heat is right at the bottom of the table with one victory from five matches. There is only one victory separating Heat from the three teams above it so things can change around very quickly.
Paarl Rocks lost their last match against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and ended giving up a bonus point as well. It was a heavy defeat that laid bare some of the weaknesses that are apparent in the Paarl Rocks setup.
Having been put into bowl first, the opening bowlers for Paarl Rocks were put to the sword. Faf du Plessis tried to buy a cheap over from Aiden Markram first up but the Giants did not allow that to happen.
It was Fortuin who got the breakthrough and ended up getting both the openers for the third successive game. The Paarl Rocks actually did well towards the end of their bowling stint to keep the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to 168. The Giants were 140 for 3 in 15 overs and looking at a score of close to 190 before Shamsi and Wiese helped pull things back with some very tight bowling.
We have been saying how the Paarl Rocks are a bit too dependent on Markram and Faf du Plessis for their runs and that was highlighted in this game. The early loss of Henry Davids and Faf du Plessis derailed the chase altogether.
Aiden Markram scored 50 but only two other batsmen got into double figures and they did not cross 18 either.
Paarl Rocks will have to be careful of repeating these same mistakes against Durban Heat. One advantage that Paarl Rocks have over Durban Heat is the leadership of Faf du Plessis. We believe he is one of the best thinkers of the game, not just in South Africa, but around the world.
He is going to be quick to realize the mistakes his side is making and will try to correct them while exploiting the gaps in Durban Heat at the same time.
Aiden Markram, Henry Davids, Faf du Plessis, VBV Jaarsveld, D Wiese, Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn Fortuin, GM Thomson, Dane Paterson, Tabraiz Shamsi, TL Moreki.
Durban Heat is having a tough time in the MSL so far and it did not get better in their last match either. The side ran into Reeza Hendricks that is in form and wanting to make a statement. He destroyed the Heat bowling with ease and would have put serious doubts about their tactics going forward.
None of the Heat’s bowlers, including Keshav Maharaj, Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott was able to stem the flow of runs. Quickfire cameos from the other Jozi Stars batsmen meant that Durban Heat was chasing down a massive total of 230.
Things went from bad to worse when Durban Heat lost three wickets in the first over including that of Amla and Klaasen. Morne van Wyk and David Miller played some shots but Durban Heat never ever came close to threatening this total.
It was a complete rout and Heat would do well to move on from that game.
Things are looking tough for Durban Heat but we continue to believe there is a lot of value in this side. Batsmen like Hashim Amla and Heinrich Klaasen are not going to be kept quiet for a very long time while the bowling has enough class in it to bounce back.
In fact, the batsmen having to go out and just play their shots may have helped them in the long run. Morne van Wyk and David Miller looked in sparkling touch and are going to be very dangerous opponents in form like this.
Albie Morkel bowled just one over and was out first ball but at least he did turn up to play after what seemed like a nasty injury. If he can recover completely and play in his full capacity as an all-rounder then Durban heat starts to look a lot more dangerous.
It will also be interesting to see if Khaya Zondo continues to bat deep down the batting order or will be pushed back up once again in the matches to come. We would have much rather seen him been pushed up the order rather than Keshav Maharaj who is just a slogger.
Durban Heat still has a minimum of five matches left in the Mzansi Super League and we expect them to make a much bigger mark than they have so far.
Heinrich Klaasen, Mv Wyk, David Miller, Khaya Zondo, Albie Morkel, K Maharaj, VD Philander, KY Abbott, T Bokako, Brandon Mavuta, Sarel Erwee.
The side winning the toss is likely to bat first
The weather forecast for Paarl on match day is excellent. There is no rain forecast and we should have a nice sunny day. That also is likely to translate to a lot of runs on a flat pitch, small outfield, at a high altitude.
We think the par score is likely to be around the 180 mark although both teams scoring above 200 is very much possible as well.
Paarl Rocks are playing at home and have had more success in the MSL so far. We see a lot to like in Durban Heat even though it is having a tough time at the moment. Durban Heat has a deeper batting lineup and a better bowling unit. The side is also available at a good price.
Back Durban Heat to win.