Match No. 25 of the Mzansi Super League 2019 will see the Tshwane Spartans lock horns against the Jozi Stars at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
The two sides come into the match on the back of losses - Tshwane Spartans lost against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants a couple of days ago and the Jozi Stars were beaten by the Paarl Rocks at their home ground.
The defending champions Jozi Stars have struggled to get going at all in the MSL 2019 as they have lost all of their seven matches and are out of the running for playoffs but have to play for pride now. Tshwane Spartans, on the other hand are currently third in the standings with 19 points from their seven matches. With a convincing win over the Stars, the Spartans are in position to leapfrog the Paarl Rocks and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and occupy the top spot in the league standings.
The Tshwane Spartans are a well-balanced side with both their batting and bowling departments doing well in the league so far. Morne Morkel and Lungisani Ngidi have been the pick of the bowlers while AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar have performed with the bat in the league matches so far. As for the Jozi Stars, it has been the batting duo of Reeza Hendricks and Temba Bavuma who have consistently given their best on the pitch despite the results not going in their favour. Kagiso Rabada has been a positive in the Stars' bowling department.
Taking all things into consideration, we take a look at three players who could play a big role in determining the result of the Spartans' clash against the Stars.
#3 Lungisani Ngidi - Tshwane Spartans
Tshwane Spartans have steadily been in the hunt for the top spot in the Mzansi Super League 2019 league standings despite having three washout games. They have been able to win three games and stay in the race for the summit due to their balanced team unit.
The bowling unit comprises of two world-class calibre bowlers in the form of Lungisani Ngidi and Morne Morkel. Ngidi has picked up nine wickets in the six innings that he has bowled in so far.
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His bowling hasn't been very economical (8.2 runs per over) but his wicket-taking ability at crucial junctures right from the top of the innings to the death makes him a dangerous prospect against any team.
The right-arm pacer has picked up at least two wickets a match in his last three matches and will be aiming to keep his form going as the Spartans push for the chance to go top of the table with a win over the Jozi Stars.
#2 Reeza Hendricks - Jozi Stars
Jozi Stars' opening batsman Reeza Hendricks has been a shining light in an otherwise dark season so far for the defending champions of the Mzansi Super League. Hendricks has consistently delivered for the Stars at the top of the innings setting the stage for good totals for his side.
In the seven matches played so far, the South African international limited-overs batsman has scored four 40+ scores including three fifties to his credit. He currently sits on the third spot in the most runs scored with the players above him - Janneman Malan and Ben Dunk both having played one match more than Hendricks.
Hendricks scored a brisk 74 in the previous match against the Paarl Rocks and will aim to continue his form with the bat as the Stars continue their search for the first win of the Mzansi Super League 2019 Season.
#1 AB de Villiers - Tshwane Spartans
The main man of the Tshwane Spartans, AB de Villiers has played a massive role in his side's rise to the playoffs spots despite three washed out matches.
AB de Villiers has handled the role of the finisher and middle-order maestro with efficiency for the Spartans as he has scored a total of 247 runs in seven matches so far. He has managed to score three 50+ innings in their last four matches and averages 49.4 in the Mzansi Super League 2019 season.
His ability to keep the scoreboard ticking regardless of the innings and find boundaries almost at will has made him the most dangerous T20 batsman there is today.
Spartans will be hoping that de Villiers continued to deliver in the middle order for them as they stand a chance to top the table with a resounding win over the Jozi Stars.