The Jozi Stars' hopes of repeating last season's events, when they lost three of their first four Mzansi Super League (MSL) matches but went on to win the competition, have been severely dented after they crumbled to a fourth successive defeat. The Stars were skittled out for 108 and went down to Nelson Mandela Bay Giants for the second time in this tournament, and remain at the bottom of the points table. At the opposite end are the Giants, who claimed a bonus-point win with a successful chase inside 10 overs and sit in pole position.
Runs but no wins
Reeza Hendricks and Temba Bavuma are first and second on the tournament run charts, with 161 and 160 runs respectively, but that has not translated into wins for their team. Hendricks' two half-centuries came in the first two matches, when the Jozi stars put up a fight, while Bavuma's scores of 62 and 27 were both top scores in otherwise limp efforts from his team-mates. Of course, you may want to point out that the Stars are the only team to play four matches so far, but let's not let that get in the way of the obvious problem for the defending champions. They need their two best batsmen to fire together, and one or two others to come to the party if they are going to turn things around. The form of Chris Gayle (46 runs in four matches) and Rassie van der Dussen (52 runs in four matches) are particular concerns.
Dala what you must
That's the South African slang phrase for "do what you need to do" and seems to be the mantra of the Giants bowler Junior Dala. He is top of the wicket-taker's list with six wickets at an average of 10.16, three of which came in this match. Dala yorked Chris Gayle the ball after the Jamaican slashed him for six, and then removed Kagiso Rabada and Bavuma in his second spell. He finished with the Player-of-the-Match performance of 3 for 19.
Hello KG, it's Jason Roy
Rabada had Roy out for a duck six days ago but, today, Roy had his revenge. He took 16 runs off Rabada's opening over - which also featured a wide - including two cover drives for four and a flick in front of square for six. In the context of the match, it was only a small tussle, but in the bigger picture of this summer, it is part of a larger narrative. South Africa host England for four Tests, three ODIs and three T20s between December and January, so Rabada and Roy will definitely meet again, especially in white-ball formats.
Just how much is the MSL costing?
We already know that CSA is footing the bill for the tournament, which was in excess of R80 million last year, but that is not the only - or perhaps even the biggest - cost. That may have happened on the field where Stars' bowler Gerald Coetzee went down with what looked like a hamstring problem in his first over. Coetzee impressed on MSL debut on Thursday night when he bounced out the Cape Town Blitz's openers Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan, and though he did not have much to work with against the Giants, he introduced himself with pace and aggression. That only lasted four balls before he aborted his run-up, clutched his right leg and tumbled onto the turf, where he proceeded to punch the ground, perhaps indicating the severity of the injury.
Depending on how long Coetzee is sidelined for, this MSL injury could have an impact on South Africa's under-19 World Cup plans, which he was all but certain to feature in. Coetzee turned 19 on October 2, which makes him eligible to play in the event. He has two months to recover - South Africa's first match of the Under-19 World Cup is on January 17, against Afghanistan, in Kimberley.
He is not the only player on the tournament's injury list. JP Duminy pulled out of the Rocks' squad with a torn hamstring, and Farhaan Behardien will not feature further for the Giants after breaking a finger in training.