Match No. 28 of the Mzansi Super League 2019 will see a clash at the top of the points table as league leaders Nelson Mandela Bay Giants take on Paarl Rocks at the Bolan Park, Paarl.
The Giants come into the match on the back of a strong win over the Cape Town Blitz whereas Paarl suffered defeat against the Durban Heat.
Paarl Rocks were undone by their otherwise competent bowling unit as they lost out against the Heat despite posting a formidable score of 195 runs. The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants got two wins in a row in their previous two fixtures on the back of great overall performances from their balanced team unit.
A win for Paarl Rocks can potentially lift them to the top of the standings considering the sides do not differ much in the Net Run Rate.
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Ben Dunk has been one of the most deadly strikers of the ball in the Mzansi Super League this year, and he currently occupies the second spot on the standings. His form has been key for the Bay Giants' rise to the top of the league standings.
Paarl Rocks' skipper FAF du Plessis will be hoping his side shows up with their A+ game against the league leaders if they are to have a chance to get a crucial win and possibly leapfrog them to the top position on the league standings.
We take a look at three players who will play an important role in determining the result of the match.
#3 Tabraiz Shamsi - Paarl Rocks
Paarl Rocks' left-arm chinaman spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has been in the news lately with his dazzling wicket celebrations becoming a fan favourite and a viral sensation at the same time. His colourful personality perfectly resembles his bowling ability as he attempts to dazzle the batsmen by attempting to outfox them with his skills with the ball.
Shamsi has been one of the most consistent bowlers for the Paarl Rocks picking at least one wicket in each match of the Mzansi Super League except for one (against the Tshwane Spartans on 29th November 2019). He has picked a total of 12 wickets in eight matches and maintained an economy rate of 7.20 which is a decent number for a wrist spinner.
He will aim to keep it tight and maintain a disciplined line and length to curtail the run flow from the Giants' batting lineup.
#2 Imran Tahir - Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
South African international spinner Imran Tahir has been one of the most lethal bowlers in the Mzansi Super League this year, consistently featuring in the top five of the most wickets taken charts. Tahir has picked up a total of 14 wickets in nine matches and now stands only behind current leader Cape Town Blitz's Dale Steyn, who has picked 15 wickets in eight matches.
Tahir has stayed true to his reputation of a high volume wicket-taking bowler with a low economy rate as he has gone at 5.94 runs per over, a good achievement for a leg spinner. His spell of four overs is always crucial for the table toppers, helping them keep the opposition batting unit in check.
Tahir will aim to continue picking up wickets at timely intervals as he did in the previous match against the Cape Town Blitz where he picked up two crucial wickets. He has taken two wickets in both of his previous matches and will be aiming to emulate the same or possibly do better against the Paarl Rocks.
#1 Ben Dunk - Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Australian opener Ben Dunk was the key reason for his team's win in their previous two matches, winning the Man of the Match awards for his performances with the bat in the process.
He scored 99 not out and 75 runs against the Tshwane Spartans and Cape Town Blitz as he took the responsibility of getting the Bay Giants off to great starts in both the matches. His fearless brand of cricket has helped him be successful so far in the Mzansi Super League 2019.
Dunk will be hoping his form with the bat continues against the Paarl Rocks and the Bay Giants are able to further extend their lead at the top of the league standings.