Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks
Wednesday 4 December 15:30
TV: live on BT Sport 3
Paarl Rocks are top of the section and a win here would guarantee qualification. A clash with Jozi Stars was just the tonic required after slipping to a defeat by Tshwane Spartans but there is no doubt they are a well-balanced and effective unit.
Against Jozi they showed their batting power in a chase of 172. Cameron Delport smashed 32 off 16 to get them ahead of the rate but when he was fourth out in the sixth with the score on 53, they refused to fold. Kyle Verreyne, Sibo Makhanya and Isuru Udana combined to steer them home with four balls to spare. Makhanya's 47-ball 63 was good enough for the man of the match gong.
With the ball, Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin, spin twins, are key. Together they are usually able to tie down sides and Stars' strong show was perhaps an aberration.
Possible XI Davids, Delport, Du Plessis, Vince, Verreyne, Makhayna, Udana, Fortuin, Viljoen, Shamsi, Mungroo
Heat turning it on
Durban Heat are fighting hard to keep themselves in the race for qualification. Defeat here will almost certainly end aspirations. Not that they're thinking like that. Consecutive wins over Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and Cape Town Blitz mean confidence is high.
It is their batters who are impressing. In both those games they chased down tough targets – 174 against the Giants and 181 against Blitz. The latter was particularly impressive because of the Newlands toss bias.
It is true that concerns over their ability to keep things tight in the field have not gone away. But at least the likes of David Miller, excellent against the Giants, and Dane Vilas have put up their hands. Even Alex Hales has managed an innings of note. The real dangerman, though, is Wihan Lubbe, who has been brilliant with the willow.
Possible XI Marshall, Hales, Lubbe, Vilas, Miller, Bopara, Phehlukwayo, Maharaj, Jansen, Abbott, Siboto
Chasers up against it
Before this season, there had been only a 30% win rate for the chaser at Boland Park. So far, that trend has been busted with Rocks chasing against the Stars successfully and Tshwane Spartans going after a target and downing the hosts. The ‘mean' could return here and we wouldn't want to be taking on such a bias. Tshwane's chase of 188 was extraordinary. More than 160 had not been busted before. Eight an over will still be the target batting first, though.
Hope Rocks price holds
We have Rocks as the strongest team. So does the match odds market it would seem even if it's an immature one. Rocks are [1.79] and if that holds, Durban are going to be heading off in the [2.20] region.
That's fair. We will keep our fingers crossed that the Rocks price holds if they bat first. If not, any rise to around the [1.80] mark is worth following although we doubt it will come because of Heat's profligacy in the field. They're conceding an average of 8.7 runs per over.
Shamsi shake down
The main price that catches the eye on the side markets is Betfair Sportsbook's 4/1 that Lubbe top scores for Heat. It looks chunky given his form, particularly as there is little to beat with Hales struggling.
Hales did manage a score last time out – 41 – but it was hardly fluent as he needed 38 balls. Too slow for an opener in this format. Back Tabraiz Shamsi top Rocks bowler 3/1 Sportsbook (1pt)”>Going under Sportsbook's 20.5 runs quote at 5/6 would have won you money nine times of out his last 14.
For Rocks, Du Plessis is the right jolly at 3s for most runs. He is overdue. So is Henry Davids at 10/3 but he doesn't appear to be in any nick at all. James Vince is 16/5. Tabraiz Shamsi is a wager, though, at 3/1 for top Rocks bowler. We have him as clear jolly rather than in a three-way tie for honours.