Ed Hawkins previews the Mzansi Super League clash from Jo'burg on Saturday and has a sniff for an upset
"The Stars batting line-up is more than capable of going big against this Durban bowling line-up"
Jozi Stars v Durban Heat
Saturday 7 December 15:30
TV: live on BT Sport 3
Dozy Jozi were denied the the chance to wake from their slumber against Tshwane Spartans on Thursday because of rain. The last time out against Paarl Rocks they had stirred, briefly, before succumbing to the soporific and a seventh-straight loss.
As we said before the Spartans game, there are signs that they are beginning to do the right things. Or have done the right thing, chiefly got rid of Chris Gayle and replaced him with Shoaib Malik. Had that switch been available from ball one they might not have done as poorly.
We have consistently said, in terms of individuals, there is little wrong with their talent. Work ethic and smarts are the issue this season, it would seem.
Possible XI Hendricks, Rickelton, Bavuma, Van der Dussen, Malik, Christian, Qeshile, Rabada, Williams, Phangiso, Olivier
Heat still pricey in field
Heat couldn't have picked up a better opponent to continue their charge for qualification. They have won three-in-a-row producing superb batting performances against Paarl Rocks, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and Cape Town Blitz.
That they downed Giants and Rocks, the two best in the competition, needs to be taken seriously. But so does their strange one-dimensional character. They can bat, but they are expensive with the ball. One of these days an average economy rate of 8.8 is going to come back to bite them. Their attitude is 'we'll score one more than you'. Against the Rocks they got past 196 to win with seven balls to spare after, finally, Alex Hales found form.
Possible XI Marshall, Hales, Lubbe, Miller, Vilas, Bopara, Maharaj, Phehlukwayo, Abbott, Siboto, Dupavillon
Last year these two met at Jo'burg and the Stars were rampant. They smashed 230 batting first. Reeza Hendricks hit a ton. The scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) in the last five read: 155-1/108-2/213-1/203-1/163-2. It's fair to say it's for the batters. There;s a bias for the chaser, too, further indicating the wicket stays true.
Stars in line
The Stars are 2.407/5 outsiders with Heat 1.654/6. We're prepared to take a gamble here on the bottom-rankers, keeping everything crossed that they put their minds towards a stronger effort.
If they do that, they could well be rewarded. The Stars batting line-up is more than capable of going big against this Durban bowling line-up. The question will be whether Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier and Aaron Phangiso can do enough work with the ball to avoid scrutiny on their fourth, fifth or even sixth bowling options.
There is a bias towards the team chasing, too, so we'll be shrewd and keep Stars on our side only if the flip goes their way. The Jo'burg weather is poor and a reduced overs game is possible. That wouldn't hurt the Stars.
Wihan Lubbe continues to go under the radar for top Durban bat at 4/1 with Sportsbook. Lubbe has had a terrific tournament, even if his stats of 175 runs in six innings suggest he has been merely good. Look a little further and there is a danger man here. His strike rate is the first clue. It's an insane 184, which is highest in his team. The two ducks he has had are probably the reasons why he's not being highlighted. But that's the way he plays. He goes hard so the margin for error is small. Ales Hales is the 11/4 jolly which is very much a 'meh' price.
For Stars, Malik looks tasty at the 9/2 mark, coming in at four in the batting. But the best value is probably for most wickets. We have Kyle Abbott rated as the favourite here but Sportsbook prefer Keshav Maharaj at 11/4. Abbott will go for plenty whereas Maharaj is meanness personified ordinarily. Strike rate, though, is what it is all about and Abbott wins on rates this year and at the venue. Take the 10/3.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back Stars batting second at 2.47/5 (2pts)
Back Kyle Abbott top Heat bowler 10/3 Sportsbook (1pt)