The sixth-placed Spartans take on the third-placed Stars as the Mzansi Super League returns to SuperSport Park in Centurion.
The hosts’ campaign has been underwhelming so far, resulting in three defeats from four attempts. They almost got over the line against the Paarl Rocks and then wet weather robbed them of a full contest with the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, so it hasn’t been an entirely one-sided run of form. They were able to expose a fragile Giants middle-order – and will try to do so again in this fixture. With the bat, a unit well serviced by AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn needs to fire individually and collectively.
The Jozi outfit has had an up and down campaign – and would dearly like to finish at the top end of the spectrum in this match. Dane Vilas is proving a steely captain, but is lacking the personnel to finish the job. The absence of Chris Gayle is evidently felt, but not insurmountable, and it’s high time fellow international recruit Dan Christian starts delivering on cue.
Kagiso Rabada was ineffective and inexpensive in defeat to the Cape Town Blitz – and took a pummeling at the hands of Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan in particular. The Spartans top order need to be mindful of this recent fragility – and the opportunity to repeat, but not get ahead of themselves.
The Western Cape derby between the Blitz and the Rocks produced an upset, as the bottom-feeders beat the table-toppers. This inland show should yield a similar outcome, as the less-fancied Spartans conceivably outdo the Stars.
Where to next
The Spartans will remain in Centurion for a clash against the Blitz on Saturday, while the Stars will head home to meet the Heat at the Wanderers on Friday.