The South African T20 franchise - the Mzansi Super League - is now well underway with live coverage on BT Sport. Ed Hawkins will be previewing the action for us, starting with the Stars against the Giants in Jo'burg...
"Whoever Gayle turns out for in franchise cricket, the team immediately starts to leak runs"
Jozi Stars v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Saturday, 10:30 GMT
Live on BT Sport 3
Jozi have been dozy. It's three defeats in three for the holders and hopes of a play-off are fast diminishing. They are likely to have to win at least five matches of their last seven to qualify.
It's pretty clear what their issue has been so far - their bowlers have left them with far too much to do in chases. In game one they went round the park for 215 against Cape Town Blitz, the Giants took them for a healthy 167 in Port Elizabeth and then last time out the Blitz notched 183 to win by 57 runs.
With bowlers of the quality of Kagiso Rabada and Simon Harmer available, it's surprising they have struggled. But it is entirely predictable considering a chunk of the budget has gone on a certain Christopher Gayle. Whoever he turns out for in franchise cricket, the team immediately starts to leak runs.
Gayle made a duck against the Blitz. But after him come some good scorers - Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Dan Christian. Shoaib Malik is set to arrive for the latter stages of the tournament. They need him now, so they can ditch Gayle before it's too late.
Giants ticking boxes
The Giants were denied a second win in as many games by rain against Tshwane Spartans. They had the points in their pocket at Centurion on Wednesday with the Spartans reduced to 33 for four in the eighth.
They are a well-balanced squad. Jason Roy is trying to blast away his Ashes nightmare alongside the powerful Matt Breetzke in the opening berth. Ben Dunk is there, too, although probably underused at No 4. JJ Smuts, Heino Kuhn, Farhaan Behardien and Chris Morris complete a batting line-up which is arguably the best and deepest.
Often, that comes at a price with the ball. But Imran Tahir is casting a spell and it was he who turned the game against the Giants with a mean four overs. Left-armer Nandre Burger is wicketless so far but his record (economy 6.8 and strike rate 16.02) suggests a real player.
Big prices on big runs
The Wanderers is a ground with a reputation for runs. The scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent) in the last five read: 213-1/203-1/163-2/144-2/181-1. It has a toss bias of just shy of 57% for the chaser, which is good news for the Stars. We're expecting a decent chunk up front for whoever bats first, given that both sides are more suited to the bat than the ball. Look for appealing prices of around the [3.0] mark for more than 190.
Toss is key
The Giants are [1.88] on the Exchange with Stars [1.95. Given the home team's poor start we should expect them to settle at around the [2.10] mark. That may be enough to tempt punters to side with them as they are as sure as hell one to avoid at odds against.
Unfortunately their record on their own turf is poor, winning just twice in seven outings. So any hope that the return to familiar surrounds will awaken their champions instinct is probably a forlorn one. They are only a wager if they get that toss bias in their favour.
Gayle is 11/4 joint favourite for top Jozi bat with Hendricks. Hmmm, who to go for? Gayle with three failures out of three? Or Hendricks who averages a massive 47 at the venue with one ton and five fifties? Van Der Dussen also has a strong record and no player has scored more runs in Jo'burg than him. Sportsbook go 9/2 about RVD.
For the Giants we have a soft spot for Behardien at 7s but note he seems to be getting further and further down the order. Kuhn, man of the match last time in a result, is 9/2. Roy is too skinny at 12/5 but Dunk appeals at 4s.
Edge on maximums
Jozi are averaging 7.1 sixes per game this year and last. The Giants average 4.3 over the same period. That's quite a difference. In the 2018 edition the match bet results were: 7/2 and 2/6. Jozi are outsiders this time according to Sportsbook at 11/10 with Giants even money. This looks like a choice affair to us.