Persistent rain fell over the Bidvest Wanderers on Friday evening which resulted in the Mzansi Super League T20 Qualifier between the Jozi Stars and the Paarl Rocks being abandoned without a ball being bowled.
The match being called off resulted in the Stars advancing to Sunday’s final against the Cape Town Blitz at PPC Newlands by virtue of their higher position on the log than the Rocks.
Faf du Plessis had earlier won the toss and asked the Stars to bat first, considering that there was rain about and chasing under Duckworth/Lewis would give his team an advantage but shortly after the toss took place, the heavens opened up and the covers were rushed on.
The Stars came into the match as favourites having home-ground advantage but also with their explosive batting line-up on fire, having passed the 200-run mark on no less than three occasions, scoring 239, 230 and 209 while the Tshwane Spartans (203) and Rocks (202) the only other sides to have passed the magical mark.
Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks had been crucial at the top of the order for the Johannesburg-based franchise having scored a combined total of 789 runs between them. Van der Dussen tops the list with 410 runs from 10 innings at an average of 51.25 while Hendricks has scored two centuries on his way to 379 from eight outings at an average of 63.16.
The Stars’ bowling has been on song this tournament as well with Duanne Olivier topping the wickets column with 18 scalps at 12.88 while Kagiso Rabada has nabbed 12 wickets at 18.58 but the surprise package has been Nono Pongolo. The right-arm medium pacer has grabbed just 10 wickets but at a miserly average of just 10.80. The 29-year old also has the best strike rate in the competition of bowlers who have bowled more than six balls, claiming a wicket every 8.2 deliveries.
The men from Paarl though had really upped the ante after a poor start to the campaign. The Rocks lost their opening two encounters before toppling the Cape Town Blitz when their stars entered the fray. The inclusion of captain Du Plessis paid immediate dividends with an explosive 54 from 39 balls.
Du Plessis’ men reached the play-off match with a comfortable six-wicket win over the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in Paarl with Cameron Delport smashing 84 from just 45 balls while Dwayne Bravo claimed 3-22 in four overs.
These two teams met just five days ago here in Johannesburg with the winlands side claiming a six-wicket victory with three balls to spare thanks to Du Plessis, who again scored an aggressive 61 off only 34 deliveries while Grant Thomson ended unbeaten on 71 from 55 balls as the Rocks chased down their target of 171.
The Stars had been in early trouble after Chris Gayle (9) and Hendricks (5) had been dismissed early but Van der Dussen smashed six boundaries and four maximums in his unbeaten 83 from 55 deliveries to help the home side to 170 for six.
Despite Rabada conceding just 20 runs in four overs and Olivier nabbing three wickets, the Stars were unable to defend their total – but tonight’s thunderstorm booked their trip to Cape Town to take on the Blitz in the final on Sunday.