Switch on the television next January, and you may find yourself a little confused.
With brightly colored teams playing T20 cricket under names such as the Super Kings, Royals and Sunrisers, you could be forgiven for thinking that the IPL had started a few months early.
In fact, what you would be watching is the inaugural season of the SA20, cricket’s newest T20 league.
Based in South Africa, the SA20 is due to have its first ball bowled in less than four months time. Earlier this week, the first ever player auction was held, with full squads now announced for each of the six teams.
Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about the upcoming season of the SA20.
How Does the SA20 Work?
This is not South Africa’s first attempt at getting a T20 league off the ground, nor is it their second either.
However, it seems like the SA20 will be third time lucky for T20 cricket in South Africa. The tournament is overseen by South Africa’s central cricketing authority, CSA, while each team is owned by an IPL franchise. With real commitment shown from the nation’s powers that be, it seems the SA20 is here to stay this time.
Six teams will compete in the SA20—the Durban Super Giants, Paarl Royals, Pretoria Capitals, Sunrisers East Cape, MI Cape Towns and Johannesburg Super Kings.
Each side will play the other teams twice, both home and away. Following this, the top four teams will compete in two semi-finals, with a grand final between the two semi-final winning sides.
Overall, a total of 33 matches will be played.
The tournament is due to be played across January and February 2023.
Exact match dates and schedule are yet to be released, however, the SA20 is not the only T20 league being played in early 2023. Part of the schedule will clash with Australia’s Big Bash League, while the United Arab Emirates’ ILT20 and Bangladesh’s BPL also coincide.
While international cricket’s packed calendar has always made scheduling difficult, CSA have made a significant expression of how seriously they are taking the SA20. Recently, they canceled a three-match ODI series between South Africa and Australia, purely so their own national players could be available for the SA20.
Updates on exact scheduling are expected to be announced shortly.
What Happened at the Recent SA20 Auction?
The involvement of IPL franchises in the SA20 has seen many features of the world’s largest T20 league replicated here, one of which is the player auction.
Taking place on 20 September in Cape Town, 533 players were up for sale at the SA20 auction. With each team looking to create a squad of 17, a maximum of seven internationals and ten domestic players were allowed to be bought.
Here’s how the SA20 auction unfolded:
- Players were available for bidding at various base prices, with 11 South Africans listed at the top price of US$100,000
- The top three purchases were Tristan Stubbs (US$518,000, Sunrisers Eastern Cape), Rilee Rossouw (US$388,000, Pretoria Capitals) and Marco Jansen (US$343,000, Sunrisers Eastern Cape)
- Prominent players who went unsold in the auction were South African captains Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma, West Indian Roston Chase and ex-Black Cap Ross Taylor
In total, each franchise has up to US$2 million to spend, on as many players as they needed to complete their squads. Prior to the auction, 22 players had already been signed across the six franchises through a pre-auction direct acquisition process.
Who’s Playing in the SA20?
Following the auction and direct acquisition, each of the six franchises now has a clear 17-man squad ahead of the tournament’s start early next year.
Here’s a look at how each of these squads are shaping up.
Durban Super Giants
Owned by the Lucknow Super Giants and Sanjeev Goenka of the RPSG Group, Durban have put together a strong squad for the upcoming SA20. The team will be coached by Lance Klusener, and features South African’s Quinton de Kock and Dwaine Pretorius, as well as internationals Jason Holder and Reece Topley.
International players: Jason Holder, Reece Topley, Kyle Mayers, Keemo Paul, Johnson Charles and Dilshan Madushanka.
Domestic players: Quinton de Kock, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Heinrich Klaasen, Kyle Abbott, Wiaan Mulder, Junior Dala, Simon Harmer, Christiaan Jonker, Prenelan Subrayen and Matthew Breetzke.
Featuring local stars David Miller and Lungi Ngidi, alongside T20 powerhouse Jos Buttler, the Paarl Royals will be a force to be reckoned with. The franchise is owned by the IPL’s Rajasthan Royals, who in turn are owned by Manoj Badale and Lachlan Murdoch of the Royals Sports Group.
International players: Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Obed McCoy, Ramon Simmonds and Eoin Morgan.
South African players: David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Vilas, Tabraiz Shamsi, Bjorn Fortuin, Wihan Lubbe, Corbin Bosch, Imraan Manack, Ferisco Adams, Evan Jones, Codi Yusuf and Mitchell van Buuren.
Owned by IPL franchise Delhi Capitals, as well as Parth Jindal and Kiran Kumar Gandhi of the GMR and JSW Groups by extension, the Pretoria Capitals boast a strong team. Jimmy Neesham and Phil Salt feature as internationals, while Graham Ford coaches and Rilee Rossouw represents the local talent.
International players: Phil Salt, Josh Little, Will Jacks, Jimmy Neesham, Kusal Mendis and Adil Rashid.
South African players: Rilee Rossouw, Anrich Nortje, Migael Pretorius, Theunis de Bruyn, Wayne Parnell, Daryn Dupavillon, Cameron Delport, Marco Marais, Shaun von Berg, Eathan Bosch and Shane Dadswell.
Sunrisers Eastern Cape
Coached by Adrian Birrell, the Sunrisers are owned by Kalanithi Maran of the Sun TV Network, through their namesake IPL franchise. Tristan Stubbs and Marco Jansen headline the team as two of the most expensive auction purchases.
International players: Roelof van der Merwe, Jordan Cox, Tom Abell, Mason Crane, Adam Rossington and Brydon Carse.
South African players: Tristan Stubbs, Aiden Markram, Marco Jansen, Sisanda Magala, JJ Smuts, Junaid Dawood, Sarel Erwee, Ottniel Baartman, Marques Ackerman, Ayabulela Gqamane and James Fuller.
MI Cape Towns
Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries has extended his T20 reach beyond Mumbai, with the addition of SA20 franchise the MI Cape Towns. Afghani spinner Rashid Khan is among the big names, while local favorite Kagiso Rabada also features.
International players: Rashid Khan, Liam Livingstone, Odean Smith, Olly Stone, Waqar Salamkheil and Sam Curran.
South African players: Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Ryan Rickelton, Beuran Hendricks, Dewald Brevis, George Linde, Duan Jansen, Delano Potgieter, Wesley Marshall, Ziyaad Abhrahams and Grant Roelofsen.
Johannesburg Super Kings
Chennai’s Super Kings have one of the biggest global fanbases, and with owner N Srinivasan now buying the Johannesburg SA20 franchise, that popularity is only set to grow. Coach Stephen Fleming will travel across, while long-time player Faf du Plessis also joins him.
International players: Alzarri Joseph, Maheesh Theekshana, Harry Brook, George Garton, Romario Shepherd and Lewis Gregory.
South African players: Faf du Plessis, Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, Kyle Verreynne, Gerald Coetzee, Lizaad Williams, Leus du Plooy, Nandre Burger, Donavon Ferreira, Malusi Siboto and Caleb Seleka.
How to Watch the SA20
As a major T20 league on the international scene, the SA20 should be available to view on most major sports platforms. The tournament is partly facilitated by SuperSport in South Africa, while other international broadcasters are yet to be confirmed.
With the first ball being bowled in just a few months’ time, tune in to watch the world’s latest T20 league action from the SA20.