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It’s Knockout time for AB’s Spartans
It is knockout time for the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League as they prepare to host the Paarl Rocks in Centurion on Wednesday, with captain AB de Villiers admitting they will need to win four from four to have a chance of reaching the play-offs.
The visitors, too, hardly have space to manoeuvre and both sides will know that victory at SuperSport Park will go a long way towards hauling in the sides above them.
For the hosts, the equation is a tough one for their remaining four games. They currently occupy fifth place with eight points from six games. The Jozi Stars hold the final play-off place at the moment with 15 points, while Paarl are sandwiched in between on a total of 13 points.
De Villiers saw his Spartans side slayed by Quinton de Kock’s century for leaders Cape Town Blitz over the weekend and the skipper acknowledges that they have to improve, especially on the batting front, to stand a chance.
“We had opportunities throughout that game with the ball. With the bat it was a debacle, to say the least, and we haven’t hit our straps yet.”
As for the remaining four games, starting with the Rocks, the captain knows exactly what needs to be done. “I think we need to win four from four,” he added.
The Rocks, meanwhile, earned a massive nine-wicket win over the struggling Durban Heat at the weekend.
Still, though, it was not good enough for coach Adrian Birrell, whose side have gone loss-loss-win-win-loss-win in their six matches of the campaign.
“The top two sides have been able to get on a roll and keep going,” he said. “We have stumbled along, but you need to peak at the right time.
“If this is anything to go by, and we can reproduce it again, then we will be well-placed towards the back-end of the tournament.”
Both sides are set to welcome their marquee foreign signings for the clash, with England captain Eoin Morgan set to bolster the Spartans and West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo joining the Rocks, who also have Cameron Delport back on their roster again.
“We are very excited to get them back,” Birrell added. “We need them. Both of them made a good contribution in our first match, so we look forward to having them.”