Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Paarl Rocks
Wednesday 27 November 15.30
TV: live on BT Sport 3
Giants look strong
The Giants are the pacesetters in the competition with four wins from five and they are not resting on their laurels. Time has been called on Farhaan Behardien's fitness race and he has been replaced by Essex's musclebound hitter Ryan ten Doeschate.
Ten Doeschate may have to wait for a game, though, with Jason Roy notching a fifty in the victory over Durban Heat and Ben Dunk considered key to the balance given he also has the gloves. There's no shortage of power hitting, either. JJ Smuts, Heino Kuhn, Chris Morris, Marcos Marais.
What we really like about the Giants is their bowling. They are ticking all the boxes from mystery spin in the shape of Imran Tahir, breakout star Nandre Burger and the reliably consistent CJ Dala.
Probable XI Roy, Breetzke, Smuts, Dunk, Kuhn, Marais, Morris, Nyaku, Burger, Dala, Tahir
Spin pair impress
Rocks are three wins from a possible four and they have a very solid look about them. They should go deep in the tournament after an impressive effort to down Cape Town Blitz for the second time.
They held their nerve to shut out 164 against Blitz with Isuru Udana growing in stature by defending 11 off the final over. Udana is part of a bowling unit which is clearly their strength. With bowling skill a clear driver of success in T20, Rocks are on the right side of the balance between bat and ball.
Tabraiz Shamsi is the magic man who can make all the difference. His two wickets for just 26 were crucial. Likewise spin understudy Bjorn Fortuin who took two for 20. There is a partnership which could take them all the way.
With the bat they're not as impressive as the Giants. The depth isn't there as the pin their hopes on a strong front five with James Vince increasingly important.
Possible XI Delport, David, Du Plessis, Vince, Pretorius, Udana, Makhanya, Mosehle, Viljoen, Fortuin, Shamsi.
Toss bias could return
The scores in the last year at Port Elizabeth (1-2 denote match won by side batting first-second, most recent first) read: 160-2/185-2/167-1/153-2/189-1/165-1/173-1/168-1/127-2. The last two matches have been trend busters, going against a toss bias. Only 43% of chasers win ordinarily. More than 160 has only been chased three times, two of them this term. One would expect results to return to the mean at some stage.
Rocks worth a risk
The Giants are 1.748/11 with the Rocks coming in at 2.226/5. The odds are not surprising as the Giants are probably the best team in the competition and, barring a collapse, should really go on to power through to a final.
But if anyone can stop them, it is the Rocks. Yes we recognise Giants as the better team but we're a little unsure as to whether they should be as skinny. Still, with the toss crucial it would seem only sensible to get against the jollies with the bias also against them. A small nibble on the Rocks defending, with smarts and confidence high in that discipline, is value here. The forecast is no rain.
Junior, or CJ as he is monikered, Dala is the sort of under the radar wager that we love. Put in the shade by the likes of big names Tahir and Morris, Dala is, in fact, the star of the show. No bowler has a better win percentage on the top wicket-taker markets over the last two competitions. He has been winning at an astonishing rate of even money. So it would be remiss not to point out that Sportsbook make him a 10/3 chance.
A tricky call for top bat. Henry Davids and Faf Du Plessis have the top win rates in the tournament at 40% the pair. So who to plump for here? Well, the odds should be our guide. With Davids chunkier at 10/3 (Sportsbook are on the money with 3/1 Faf fav), it's a decent wager. Making use of the opening slot is, of course, an advantage, too.