Eastern Storm, currently seated in seventh place in the 2023 CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge Division Two, may not be destined for the finals, but they are determined to finish the season on a high note. Despite their current standing, they recently displayed a commanding performance, securing a comprehensive victory against South Western Districts in their previous game.
Their next challenge awaits them on October 8 at Willowmoore Park, where they will face off against the struggling Mpumalanga Rhinos. The Rhinos have endured a forgettable season, residing at the bottom of the table with just one win in five games. With only two matches remaining, their best hope now is to claw their way out of the basement and improve their standings.
Eastern Storm Preview
Eastern Storm is riding the wave of a dominating 43-run triumph over South Western Districts at Willowmoore Park. Despite being asked to bat first, Eastern Storm compiled a competitive total of 228 runs. Their innings appeared precarious at 68-6, but Shane Dadswell (72 off 63 balls) and Aron Visser (65 off 49 balls) orchestrated a remarkable recovery, propelling the team to a respectable score.
Visser and Dadswell currently share the mantle of top run-scorers for the team this season, each amassing 176 runs. However, inconsistency has plagued their top and middle-order batsmen, affecting the team’s overall performance. Shaylen Pillay, with 167 runs in 5 matches at an average of 41.75, has been a notable exception.
On the bowling front, Divan Posthumus has stood out with 10 wickets in 5 innings at an average of 16.60. In the last match against South Western Districts, the right-arm medium-pacer claimed 3-24. In the same game, right-arm off-spinner Juan Lubbe made an impressive debut this season, finishing with figures of 3-38 from 9 overs.
Eastern Storm Predicted Playing XI:
- Mark Pearse
- Juandre Johnson (wk)
- Thulani Tembela
- Kabelo Sekhukhune
- Shaylen Pillay
- Juan Lubbe
- Shane Dadswell (c)
- Aron Visser
- Divan Posthumus
- Andrew Rasemene
- Chad Classen
Mpumalanga Rhinos Preview
After a victorious encounter against South Africa Emerging Players in September, the Mpumalanga Rhinos have suffered three consecutive defeats, the most recent being against Northern Cape on October 4. The Rhinos managed only 219 runs after being put in to bat, and Northern Cape chased down the target with 6 wickets in hand and 39 overs to spare.
Captain Jurie Snyman’s 52 and Jon Hinrichsen’s explosive 53 off 29 balls were the lone bright spots for the Rhinos in the previous match. Snyman currently stands as the team’s second-highest run-scorer this season, accumulating 182 runs in 5 games at an average of 42. Muhammed Mayet has been the most consistent batter for the Rhinos this season, tallying 216 runs in 5 innings at an impressive average of 54.
Gareth Dukes has emerged as the standout bowler for the Rhinos, capturing 8 wickets in 5 innings at an average of 28.87 and an economy rate of 5.71. The pitch at Willowmoore Park seems to suit him well, and he is expected to pose a significant challenge to the Easterns. Jon Hinrichsen, who has taken 7 wickets this season at an average of 32.28, is another dependable bowler.
Mpumalanga Rhinos Predicted Playing XI:
- Alexander Kok
- Nhlanhla Dlamini
- Yassar Cook
- Muhammed Mayet
- Jurie Snyman (c)
- Benjamin van Niekerk (wk)
- Gareth Dukes
- Gregory Mahlokwana
- Jon Hinrichsen
- Ngazibini Sigwili
- Lindokuhle Pawuli
Willowmoore Park’s pitch offers something for both batsmen and bowlers. Batsmen can relish the bounce off the surface and capitalize once they settle in. However, seam bowlers receive consistent movement and bounce, making it challenging for batsmen to score against the new ball. Expect sunny and warm weather in Benoni on the day of the match, with no chances of rainfall, promising an uninterrupted and exciting cricket contest.
The average first innings score in the last nine matches at Willowmoore Park is 251. The highest total posted here is 362-9 by South Africa Emerging Players against Eastern Storm in the current season. As the season progresses, the pitch appears to be slowing down, and the team batting first is likely to aim for a total in the range of 260-270 runs.
Toss: To Bat
All three matches played at Willowmoore Park in the CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge Division Two this season have been won by the team batting first. Therefore, winning the toss and opting to bat first is the preferred choice.
Having only met twice, with one game abandoned and the other won by Eastern Storm, this season has been challenging for both teams, particularly in terms of their batting performance. Eastern Storm appears to have a more well-rounded squad compared to the Rhinos. With their recent strong showing, Eastern Storm seems to have the edge in this encounter. On the other hand, the Rhinos, struggling with confidence, will need an exceptional effort to secure a victory here.
Today’s Match Prediction: Eastern Storm
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