The first half of Wednesday’s Mzansi Super League double-header brings a straight shootout to Boland Park, where the Giants and Rocks are vying for a spot alongside the Jozi Stars in Friday’s eliminator.
The Rocks will be the first to admit they’ve lacked the consistency required to secure a top-three finish earlier in the tournament – and are now faced with a ‘do or die’ scenario. They have been afforded plenty of impetus by Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis and Henry Davids, but support has been lacking elsewhere down the order – and that needs to change.
In the bowling ranks, spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin will again have substantial roles to play. The Rocks would do well not to open the bowling with Fortuin, as this tactic has become rather predictable, while Shamsi’s jostle with the Giants’ Imran Tahir will make for a great battle of the wrist spinners.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Head coach Aiden Birrell recently conceded that the Giants have blown as hot and cold as the Rocks, but will be aware that the opposition have gained some advantage in the momentum stakes. The Giants, indeed, only have two wins and a washout to show for their last three matches – and have left it rather late attempting to qualify.
A sticking point for their batsmen has certainly been the opening six overs. If two of Marco Marais, Jason Roy and Jon-Jon Smuts can stick it out for the mandatory powerplay, there could be plenty of fireworks at a relatively small ground thereafter.
The Giants beat the Rocks earlier in the tournament, where 11 overs of spin from the hosts at St George’s Park proved key. They had additional spinner Aaron Phangiso in the ranks at the time. This time they might as well repeat the plan, and duly advance to the next stage.