Paarl Rocks v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: Visitors could have the edge

Faf Du Plessis
Faf is overdue

Ed Hawkins previews the top-of-the-table clash from Boland Park on Sunday and says it should be a corker

"At those numbers, pre-toss, we're inclined to side with the Giants. We are more enamoured with their batting (an edge of 8.66 average runs per over versus 8.14) while there is not much to choose between the bowling units (7.79 v 7.53)"

Paarl Rocks v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Sunday 8 December 08.00
TV: live on BT Sport 3

Rocks could tweak

Paarl Rocks have had two defeats in their last three but still look like one of the top two strongest in the tournament. Their balance is good.

Still, they suffered a confidence-draining defeat by Durban Heat at home last time out. Having posted an excellent 195 for the loss of just two wickets, they would have expected to comfortably win the game.

Perhaps that was the problem. They were just running in and turning it over. Ordinarily Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin would have a team in all sorts of trouble but this time there was an absence of control. Both men went for more nine an over while Hardus Viljoen went round the park.

The form of opener Henry Davids continues to cause concern, too. They may consider a change in that position, Could James Vince open, giving him maximum opportunity with Dwaine Pretorius returning?

Probable XI Davids, Delport, Du Plessis, Vince, Verreyenne, Makhanya, Udana, Viljoen, Fortuin, Shamsi, Mungroo

NMBG still improving

The Giants got a morale-boosting win over Cape Town Blitz last time out but, in truth, it should never have been in doubt with a heavy toss bias in their favour.

Once Ben Dunk and Matt Breetzke got them off to a flyer they looked home and hosed. The total of 173 was probably below par considering they had 156 in the 17th. But the late wobble they suffered would prove a portent.

The Blitz seemingly had the chase under control thanks to another fine nock from Jannie Malan. Imran Tahir, however, proved how vital an international-class spinner is in this format by sparking a collapse. Blitz lost five for 56.

There was no Jason Roy for the Giants and with Ryan ten Doeschate adding middle-order ballast, it is possible they look better balanced without the Surrey and England man.

Possible XI Breetzke, Dunk, Smuts, Marais, Kuhn, Ten Doeschate, Morris, Hendricks, Burger, Tahir, Mnyaka.

Trend busting

Boland Park this term has been a trend buster. Before this season, there had been only a 30% win rate for the chaser there. So far, with Rocks chasing against the Stars successfully, Tshwane Spartans going after a target and then Heat going after a big total, we may have to consider conditions have changed. Still, three games is hardly a study sample so the rationale thought is that we return to the mean. Maybe add on a 0.5 for a previous eight-an-over target.

Standing on the shoulders of Giants

This is a corker of a contest and potentially a dress rehearsal for the final. The match odds market is in agreement. The Rocks are 1.845/6 and the Giants 2.021/1.

At those numbers, pre-toss, we're inclined to side with the Giants. We are more enamoured with their batting (an edge of 8.66 average runs per over versus 8.14) while there is not much to choose between the bowling units (7.79 v 7.53).

The toss then, should provide a bit more clarity. It is hard to ignore the toss bias (despite the last three games) so if the Giants can hold at around their current odds, we'll get involved. The weather forecast is good.

That is one tasty Burger

The first price that leaps from the coupon is the 7/2 with Betfair Sportsbook that Vince tops scores for Rocks. The Englishman has found a fine vein of form with an average close to 50. His strike rate is only bettered by Cameron Delport in the opening berth. Delport is the 3/1 second jolly behind Faf Du Plessis at 11/4. Du Plessis has a good two-year record and is well overdue a win.

Nandre Burger's return to the side is a bonus for Giants as we think his left-arm darts are impressive. We note his price of 7/2 for top bowler. Tahir gets favourite status at 5/2. Shamsi is 11/5 favourite for Rocks.

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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