The second-placed Nelson Mandela Bay Giants host the first-placed Cape Town Blitz in the Mzansi Super League at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Three wins in four attempts have the Giants hot on the heels of the pace-setting Blitz, who copped their first defeat of the tournament against the Paarl Rocks on Sunday. This is exactly the ‘in’ the Giants require to get ahead of this competitor and the rest, but it’s going to take a lot to get the better of Farhaan Behardien’s men regardless.
Head coach Eric Simons is the latest to harp on about the importance of home ground advantage, and to this end Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso will have to be influential with the ball – and Jon-Jon Smuts and Aaron Phangiso should fire up front with the bat.
Cape Town Blitz
‘Five in five’ would have had a nice ring to it, but instead the Blitz floundered against Faf du Plessis and company in Paarl. One defeat won’t derail their quest for the title, but a second might make the wobble more evident.
They’re solid at the top of the knock, especially if batting first, but Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan need stronger support. And the bowlers will have to find a better way to marshal the middle overs.
Last time out
The Giants and Blitz met earlier in the tournament, with the former triumphant by 12 runs at Newlands. Malan and Heino Kuhn exchanged half-centuries in condition conducive to fast bowling then, but the spinners will come more into play now.
The top-of-the-table fixture is always a tough one to call, but the Giants are backed to take this one, particularly if their slow bowlers are able to get on top of an iffy opposition middle order. Let’s, too, look forward to a big battle in the war between Marco Marais and Dale Steyn and/or Anrich Nortje, hopefully.
Where to next
The Giants will stay in Port Elizabeth to host the Paarl Rocks on Friday, while the Blitz will travel to Centurion to play the Spartans on Saturday.