The Mzansi Super League’s underachieving Stars, thus far, will take on the firm favourites at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Stars probably should have been unbeaten this early in the tournament, but have instead had to navigate from defeat to the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants to triumph over the Paarl Rocks. Back at home at the Wanderers, where they are most comfortable, they’ll pursue another victory. The absence of Chris Gayle, who has gone to the T10 League in Sharjah, is still a factor, but the young and talented Ryan Rickelton has stepped up and delivered on cue. The Stars need the rest of their batsmen to do the same, especially against arguably the best bowling attack of the competition.
Cape Town Blitz
Victorious over the Tshwane Spartans, Durban Heat and Giants, the Blitz have become the form side in the six-team tourney. The return of Quinton de Kock and Andile Phehlukwayo from the Proteas’ tour of Australia has been a big boost – and the leadership group hardly missed a stride when Farhaan Behardien replaced Dawid Malan at the helm. They even had the luxury of resting Anrich Nortje for the win over the Giants, but he’ll probably be back to partner Dale Steyn with the new ball for this clash unless Steyn is rested in turn.
This might be the most intriguing clash of the tournament so far, with the coastal Blitz still tipped to put one over the inland Stars. Janneman Malan, who swapped the Lions for the Cobras earlier this year, might be in for a particularly telling performance again. He was superb against the Giants.
Where to next
The Blitz will be left with a brief turnaround – and must get to Paarl for a Western Cape derby on Sunday. The Stars, meanwhile, will only be in action on Wednesday again, in a derby of their own against the Spartans.