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|AB de Villiers||8||6||1||0||133.33|
|Tony de Zorzi||17||21||1||0||80.95|
|Faf du Plessis||38||19||5||2||200.00|
|Shaun von Berg||4.0||0||27||3||6.75|
A majority of the group stage matches of the Mzansi Super League have been completed and we are getting a clear picture of the top-2 teams likely to be a part of the knockout stages. The third team trying to get involved in the post group stage matches is still not clear. There are a number of possibilities and almost all of the teams of the MSL have a chance to still make it.
Paarl Rocks is one of the sides that is going to be right in the thick of things as the group matches start to wind down. Three wins from six matches put the Paarl Rocks just behind the Jozi Stars in terms of points, the difference being a couple of extra bonus points that the Stars picked up during their matches.
The Tshwane Spartans have not had the best MSL campaign till now and sit at second from the bottom with two wins from six matches. The group is still sufficiently tight for them to make a comeback into the tournament, though.
AB de Villiers is leading the Tshwane Spartans and he must have a real sense of déjà vu. He is pretty much in the same position that he finds himself with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL every year.
His side has started the tournament badly and needs to rack up some wins. The person to get them there has to be him.
Tshwane Spartans knew they did not have a very good bowling attack when they started the MSL. They were probably hoping that having AB de Villiers in the side was going to make up for a lot of their deficiencies but things have not panned out that way.
AB de Villiers has struggled to get into the kind of batting form that everyone was expecting him to. His last inning was a real struggle as he failed to get the ball off the square.
There are some other good batsmen in the Tshwane Spartans side too. Cloete has had a good Mzansi Super League, Dean Elgar has been getting some good starts consistently, and Theunnis de Bruyn is a very dangerous batsman in this format of the game but we think AB has to take a central role soon otherwise the Spartans are going to be out of contention of a spot in the knockouts.
The bowling performed quite well in the last match and sparked off a Cape Town Blitz collapse but Quinton de Kock proved to be too much to get past. An all-round improved performance is necessary against the Paarl Rocks.
Gihahn Cloete, Eoin Morgan, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers, Andrea Agathangelou, Tony de Zorzi, Robbie Frylinck, Shaun von Berg, BMAJ Mendis, Lutho Sipamla, Rory Kleinveldt.
Paarl Rocks won a very convincing victory against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in a match where its senior players really came to the party. Tabraiz Shamsi led with the ball as he choked Durban Heat towards the middle and end of the inning while Faf du Plessis and Aiden Markram took the central role with the bat.
All three of these players were missing from the opening two matches of the tournament and those were the ones were the Paarl Rocks lost most convincingly. Even the other match that the Paarl Rocks lost was due to all three of these players having a bad day.
The Rocks continue to have the same problem going forward into the tournament which is their lack of depth. There drop in quality from their three best players is quite stark and that is something quite difficult to solve.
At the moment, the only thing that Paarl Rocks can hope for is to continue having these three players in form. Van Jaarsveld, David Wiese, and Fortuin have also shown some glimpses of brilliance but we don’t think they are going to be able to win too many matches without the big players in the side performing.
Faf du Plessis is continuing his purple patch while Aiden Markram looks ready to feast on the domestic bowlers he used to dominate not too long back. Du Plessis at number 3 is an excellent choice and we hope the South African skipper bats for his national side at the spot as well in the future.
Aiden Markram, C Delport, Faf du Plessis, VBV Jaarsveld, Mangaliso Mosehle, Dwayne Bravo, D Wiese, Bjorn Fortuin, Dane Paterson, Tabraiz Shamsi, TL Moreki.
The team winning the toss is likely to want to bat first
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There is a slight possibility of rain at Centurion on Match Day but hopefully, nothing that is going to truncate the match. The pitch at SuperSport Park is excellent for batting and is going to be a good flat deck on which plenty of runs should be able to be scored.
Both sides have a relatively weak bowling attack so we could see a match where runs in excess of 200 are scored in each inning.
Paarl Rocks definitely have the better side when seen head to head but we think it is time for some AB de Villiers heroics to come to the fore. This is the stage in the tournament where he usually takes the tournament by the scruff of the neck and puts his stamp on it. We think he will lead the Tshwane Spartans to victory
Back the Tshwane Spartans to win.
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