Durban Heat v Jozi Stars: Stars have a sniff of an upset

Reeza Hendricks
Hitman Hendricks

Ed Hawkins previews a must-win game for Heat in the Mzansi Super League from a soggy Kingsmead on Tuesday...

"There is a toss bias to be aware of, although in shortened version we're not sure how important a 57% swing for the side defending will be"

Durban Heat v Jozi Stars
Tuesday 10 December 15.30
TV: live on BT Sport 3

Dicey for Durban

The equation is simple for Durban Heat if they are to make the top three and therefore the play-offs: win. They couldn't have picked a better opponent than the dozey Stars but there is a problem.

Alas the weather forecast for Durban is poor and if there is a washout - which denied the Tshwane Spartans the chance to put daylight between them and Durban - the home team will come up a point short.

It would be a shame for the Heat if they were to miss out as their batters have been excellent, winning their last three. That sequence included victories over Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and the Paarl Rocks, the top two. Alex Hales has managed some runs, Wihan Lubbe looks the most dangerous No 3 in the whole tournament and the middle-to-lower order is eye-catching. They are pricey with the ball but Keshav Maharaj is spinning a web.

Probable XI Marshall, Hales, Lubbe, Vilas, Miller, Bopara, Phelukwayo, Maharaj, Abbott, Siboto, Dupavillon

Stars hopes fade

After finally sorting out their batting woes by posting 171 against the Paarl Rocks, Jozi had the chance to end their awful campaign with a flourish and avoid a winless season. But successive washouts mean they face the prospect of a 0-8 record and any vim they had to go out with a bang could have gone down the drain.

Perhaps if they had not wasted their cash on the overpriced and overrated Chris Gayle and had Shoaib Malik from the start they would have fared better. We maintain that, man for man, they should not be languishing where they are.

They are actually better balanced than the likes of Spartans and Blitz, largely because of the twin threat from pacer Kagiso Rabada and the mean Aaron Phangiso. There must be something wrong with the heart and head of the team.

Possible XI Hendricks, Rickelton, Bavuma, Van der Dussen, Malik, Christian, Qeshile, Rabada, Williams, Phangiso, Olivier

Bowlers to fore

The scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent) in the last 11 read: 173-2/174-1/121-2/159-1/133-1/128-2/139-2/157-2/168-1/172-nr/157-1. More than 160 has been busted seven times since November 2016 (17 games). In the two games this year batting has been easy, but it might have more to do with Durban's profligacy in the field.

Take risk on Stars

Durban are 1.728/11 and the Starts 2.3411/8. It is perhaps surprising that the hosts have not slipped under the 1.705/7 mark, in which case we'd be talk about how only teams who have shown longer form than three games should be as short.

The issue is rain. The market knows that if they play, this is a reduced-overs affair (probably a ten-over thrash) and that plays into the hands of the Stars. They can go hell for leather against a Heat attack which has leaked runs. They are conceding an average of 8.94 runs per over, which is massive.

There is a toss bias to be aware of, although in shortened version we're not sure how important a 57% swing for the side defending will be. Stars could well be worth a nibble defending something chunky.

Hendricks hot

It wouldn't, ordinarily, be wise to look past the sets of openers for top bat with rain around. For Heat, Hales is 11/4 with Betfair Sprotsbook and Wesley Marshall an inflated 4s. Marshall's poor strike rate of 126 puts us off suggesting it's value. He's the same price as Lubbe, who has such an impressive strike rate that it could be worth breaking our own rule. Hitting at 184, Lubbe won't take long to catch up. And the others might not have time to catch him.

Reeza Hendricks seems to have found his mojo again after Gayle's departure. Fellow opener Ryan Rickleton is snail-like with a rate of just 83. Hendricks has little to beat, then, at 5/2.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2019: +37.26pts
2018: +23.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
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

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