The business end of the Mzansi Super League 2019 has kicked off and Match No. 23 will see second-place Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and third-place Tshwane Spartans locking horns.
Both the teams lost their previous fixture and will be looking to get back to winning ways. The Spartans were outplayed by the Cape Town Blitz whereas the Bay Giants fell prey to the resurgent Durban Heat. The losses meant the Paarl Rocks capitalized on their opportunity to move to the summit of the league.
However, the Spartans and Bay Giants have a chance to get back to the top of the league standings if they manage a win in this clash.
The Spartans and Bay Giants both have well-balanced sides comprising plenty of match winners.
Here, we take a look at three in-form players to watch out for in tonight's clash at the St. George's Park Cricket Ground in Port Elizabeth.
#3 JJ Smuts - Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Jon-Jon Trevor Smuts has been a handy contributor for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at the No. 3 spot. Despite the presence of T20 stalwarts like Ben Dunk and Jason Roy above him in the batting lineup, Smuts has managed to score the most runs for the Bay Giants this season.
Smuts has scored a total of 205 runs in six innings thus far at a healthy strike rate of 140.41.
His highest score of 73 against the Cape Town Blitz helped the Bay Giants chase down a target of 187 runs. He has scored consistently all tournament and even managed a knock of 54 in the loss against the Durban Heat.
Smuts will hope to continue his good form and take his side to the top of the league standings with a victory.
#2 Imran Tahir - Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants's right-arm leg-spinner Imran Tahir has proven to be one of the most threatening bowlers in the Mzansi Super League. He's the third-highest wicket-taker in the competition with 10 wickets in seven matches so far.
Tahir has shown his class on pitches that have not been conducive to spin bowling. His ability to maintain a strict line and length have been the key to his success thus far.
Tahir also boasts a superb economy rate of 5.85 in this competition and has not conceded more than 28 runs in a match as yet.
His spell of four overs will be crucial for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants as they look to stifle a destructive Tshwane Spartans lineup.
#1 AB de Villiers - Tshwane Spartans
"Mr. 360", AB de Villiers has maintained his reputation as one of the most destructive batsmen in the T20 circuit with stellar showings for the Tshwane Spartans. His performances led his side to the top of the table at one stage before they suffered a defeat against the Cape Town Blitz in their last encounter to come crashing back down to earth.
De Villiers has scored 184 runs in six innings for the Spartans and has recovered well from a slow start. He has amassed two 50+scores in the last three matches and will be aiming to continue his fine run with the bat and guide the Spartans back to the top position in the league.
Staying true to his natural game, De Villiers has scored his runs at a strike rate of almost 150 this season.