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|Faf du Plessis||6||12||0||0||50.00|
With business end of the ongoing Mzansi Super League not really far away, things are beginning to get tighter. The race to get to the final-four spots is now between five teams with Durban Heat already knocked out of the competition. The next match, between Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and Paarl Rocks, is of significant importance with fate of three teams hanging on this game. A win for Nelson Mandela Bay Giants will take them through leaving the fate of Rocks in the hands of other teams. For Rocks to qualify, they need to win and win in such a fashion that their net run rate gets better than Nelson Mandela Giants.
The Rocks are coming off a terrific run chase against the Stars and will be looking to take the momentum forward. Their win was scripted largely by the heroic innings of Grant Thompson and Skipper Faf du Plessis. Grant Thompson played a glorious unbeaten knock of 71 and du Plessis contributed with 61 runs as they sneaked in with 6 wickets and three balls to spare.
The most prominent reason for Rocks' qualification misery is their misfiring batting lineup. Barring Faf du Plessis, who has 312 runs in the tournament to his name, no batsman has been able to score consistently enough. Aiden Markram with 142 runs stands second in the lost of top run scorers for the Rocks which sums up their miseries with the bat.
Despite poor batting display, the fact that they are still hanging in to qualify, albeit by a thin thread, is commendable. This is largely due to their bowling attack which comprises of Tabraiz Shamsi, Bjorn Fortuin, and Dane Paterson. They've picked up 27 wickets between them in the tournament with each of them picking up nine.
Aiden Markram, C Delport, Faf du Plessis, Henry Davids, GM Thomson, Dwayne Bravo, Mangaliso Mosehle, D Wiese, Dane Paterson, Kerwin Mungroo, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Although the Giants are still comfortably placed to qualify for the playoffs, but thanks to a big loss in their last match, they can no longer afford any more slip-ups. Should they lose the upcoming game with a big enough margin, their hopes to qualify for the semifinal will rest on the results of the Spartans' games.
They lost their last match by a margin of 28 runs which heavily dented their net run rate. They lost wickets at regular intervals which never allowed their innings to take off. The major responsibility lies on the shoulders of Ben Duckett and JJ Smuts and no one has really contributed much outside of those two. While Chris Morris has done exceedingly well with the ball, barring last match, his form with the bat will be a cause of concern for the management.
He's scored just 48 runs in the tournament which isn't really justifiable with the kind of all-rounder tag he carries. Morris and Imran Tahir have led their bowling attack well so far, but their performance in the last match would have raised at least a few eyebrows. They'd need other bowlers to step up their game to take on Faf du Plessis who is in superb form.
JJ Roy, JJT Smuts, RS Second, Ben Duckett, Heino Kuhn, Marco Marais, Chris Morris, SSB Magala, Aaron Phangiso, Dyllan Matthews, Junior Dala.
This is one of the most vital matches yet to be played in the tournament. A win here will not only push the winner to knock-outs, but also instill confidence and momentum which can be crucial in business end of the tournament. The Rocks have a well-rounded bowling attack and with the presence of Faf du Plessis in the middle order makes them favorites to win the upcoming encounter.
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