Mzansi Super League 2019, Cape Town Blitz vs Tshwane Spartans: 3 in-form players to watch out for
The fourth week of the Mzansi Super League 2019 is about to cap off with an exciting fixture as the Cape Town Blitz take on the league leaders Tshwane Spartans in the second match of the day.
The competition has reached the business end with all teams left with only three or four games left to play. Tshwane Spartans currently are in prime position with 19 points from six matches and have a one-game advantage over the Paarl Rocks and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants with both sides having secured 19 points with seven matches.
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Cape Town Blitz will be aiming to rally their troops around and push for a final surge to stay in contention for the playoffs spot as they have 13 points in seven matches. They have fallen behind the Durban Heat who have jumped to the fourth spot with 14 points in the same number of matches.
Today's clash, as part of a double header, will see both sides have their work cut out, with the batting pedigree of the Tshwane Spartans up against the sturdy bowling unit of the Cape Town Blitz.
We take a look at three players whose performances on the pitch could impact the result of the fixture in a large way.
#3 Dale Steyn - Cape Town Blitz
The right-arm fast bowler, Dale Steyn, has been deadly on his home country pitches, utilizing the bounce to his advantage and leads the wicket charts with 12 wickets so far in the league. His recovery after long-term injuries in the past few years has been nothing short of impressive.
Steyn started off the Mzansi Super League 2019 season with a bang, taking three wickets and giving away just 25 runs in the season-opening win for the Cape Town Blitz against defending champions Jozi Stars. With the exception of the match against Paarl Rocks, Steyn has managed to pick up at least one wicket in each of the matches, taking his streak to five matches.
For the past three matches, Steyn has consistently picked up two wickets, cementing himself as the key bowler for the Cape Town Blitz. His spell will be key for the Blitz to contain the threat possessed by Durban Heat's in-form batting unit.
#2 Janneman Malan - Cape Town Blitz
Cape Town Blitz's opening batsman Janneman Malan has been the most in-form batsman for the side racking up good scores to set the stage for their innings. He currently occupies the top spot on the run charts with a total of 262 runs in seven matches.
Malan began the season with a 99 not out score in just 59 balls to set up an innings total of 213/3 for the Blitz in their eventual win over Jozi Stars. He has continued to chip in with fairly good scores at the start but has picked up his average scores for the last three matches.
The right-hander Malan managed a 75 run knock against the Durban Heat but the Blitz weren't able to defend the score of 181/5. He will aim to keep his form going against the league leaders Tshwane Spartans in the hopes of solidifying the Blitz's playoff chances. His performance at the top of the innings will be crucial for shaping up the chances for the team.
#1 AB de Villiers - Tshwane Spartans
AB de Villiers is always one to watch out for in a T20 match, taking into consideration the consistency in scoring runs that he brings to the table. After an uncharacteristic slow start to his Mzansi Super League 2019 season, the former South African international skipper has gained form and guided the Tshwane Spartans to the top of the league standings.
De Villiers has scored two fifties in the previous two encounters - against the Jozi Stars and Paarl Rocks leading his side to crucial victories as they look to pip the Rocks to the top spot in the standings. The Spartans' middle-order maestro will back himself to continue scoring at brisk rates and his ability to make any target look chaseable makes him perhaps one of the best finishers in T20 cricket today.