The Paarl Rocks would like to repeat the performance of the Cape Town Blitz in the tournament opener earlier this week, while the Spartans need to bounce back from that early defeat.
The Paarl franchise have plenty to prove after beating Bloemfontein to a tournament berth – and that mission starts now. They will be up against a proud Spartans outfit smarting from defeat to the Blitz 48 hours earlier. Captained by Henry Davids until Faf du Plessis gets back from Australia, they’re also without Tabraiz Shamsi for now.
Shamsi recently noted the need to capitalise on conditions in Paarl, which can really suit spinners. Bjorn Fortuin, then, can go a long way in heeding Shamsi’s words. They can look to build their batting around the big-hitting of exploits of Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Cameron Delport and others.
AB de Viliers can be a one-man batting army, but the Spartans can’t have an over-reliance on him. Rilee Rossouw and the others have to pitch in well – and the two or three good partnerships de Villiers has insisted he wants strung together will be in high demand.
Their wrist spinners Jeevan Mendis and Shaun von Berg were poor against the Blitz, bowling particularly short to the left-handed Mohammad Nawaz, who was quick to cash in. If retained in the XI, both will have to correct their lengths. Seamer Rory Kleinveldt, too, was ineffective – and Eldred Hawken should find himself in the team ahead of the former Proteas seamer.
On paper, Spartans genuinely look the stronger outfit – and the bulk of their players aren’t the type of characters willing to accept their lot which transpired in Cape Town. A redemptive victory for the Tshwane unit seems the likely outcome.
Where to next
The Rocks will meet the Jozi Stars at the same venue on Tuesday – and the Spartans will face the Durban Heat in Kingsmead on Wednesday.