The 2019 edition of the Mzansi Super League kicked off on Friday evening in Johannesburg with a high scoring clash between the Jozi Stars and the Cape Town Blitz. The North-South derby went the way of the Cape side, who beat the defending champions by 15 runs at the Bullring.
Here are our talking points from MSL 2019’s opening game.
Dale Steyn’s still got it: If not for Dale Steyn, the Blitz would’ve probably not won this game. In a match that produced over 400 runs across 40 overs, the veteran pacer finished with stunning figures of 3/25 from his four. His two over spell at the death, taking out the well-set pair of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen, was key to halting the Stars’ run chase just as it seemed they would coast home.
If he keeps up this form, Steyn may just get a chance to atone for the 2015 and 2019 ODI WC disappointments at next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Dale Steyn still wants to make it to the T20 World Cup next year. Fantastic figures of 3/25 from his 4 (picking up Gayle, Rassie & Reeza), and he's kept the Blitz in the game. His performance another example of how the domestic system would benefit if #Proteas played more games
— thecricketblog (@thecricblogger) November 8, 2019
Janneman Malan misses out on a century: Malan could’ve easily scored the first century for MSL 2019, but finished just one agonizing run short on 99* (59). He had an opportunity to get to his 100 on the final ball of the Blitz innings, but was unable to get bat on ball. Cape Town scored only 13 runs off the final two overs, but fortunately for the visitors, it didn’t hurt them in the final analysis.
Should the Stars have promoted Ryan Rickelton?: Did the Stars miss a trick by not promoting Ryan Rickelton up the order, potentially ahead of van der Dussen or even Dan Christian? The 23 year-old southpaw, fresh from a double century for Gauteng against Free State, only got two deliveries to face. The likes of Rickelton and Marques Ackerman are the type of youngsters Proteas fans are hoping will come good in the MSL, but neither of them really got a chance to showcase their wares here- Rickelton had to swing from the word go, and Ackerman didn’t even make the Blitz playing XI.
An afternoon to forget for Duanne Olivier: Top-wicket taker at the last MSL, Olivier was clubbed for 32 in his two overs. Stars skipper Temba Bavuma didn’t even ask him to bowl his full quota of overs. With promising fast bowler Gerald Coetzee waiting in the wings, Olivier (a Kolpak currently) needs to find form sooner rather than later.
Sisanda Magala the underrated hero: Bar one over where he was taken to the cleaners by Reeza Hendricks, this was a fairly impressive outing from Magala. Bowled an excellent penultimate over to effectively end the Stars’ chances, and also took two fine catches under the Johannesburg evening sky to send Hendricks and Van der Dussen back to the pavillion.
CT Blitz 213/3 (Malan 99, Christian 1/28) beat Jozi Stars 198/5 (Hendricks 80, Steyn 3/25)