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Top class players to feature in inaugural SA20



Photo: SA20 six team captains

|| ICC ||

Big-hitting batters and cunning strike bowlers are set to light up the SA20. As many as eight of the batters and bowlers ranked in the top-10 in the ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings are set to play in the inaugural season of the SA20.

The leading batters include South Africa’s Aiden Markram (ranked 5) and Rilee Rossouw (8), with 12 of the top 100 in the T20I Batting Rankings to appear in the SA20 2023.

The top-ranked bowlers include imports Rashid Khan (2) and Maheesh Theekshana (10), recent ICC Men’s T20 World Cup winners Adil Rashid (3) and Sam Curran (5), and South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi (6) and Anrich Nortje (9).

Durban’s Super Giants

Top batter: Quinton de Kock (15)

Other top-100 ranked batters: Heinrich Klaasen (56), Kyle Mayers (71)

Top bowler: Keshav Maharaj (15)

Other top-100 ranked bowlers: Reece Topley (22), Jason Holder (37), Dwaine Pretorius (38)

The Super Giants are built for fast starts with South Africa keeper-batter de Kock and the West Indies pair Johnson Charles and Mayers all capable at the top of the order.

Klaasen and Pretorius can score quickly whether called upon in the middle or final few overs of an innings, though the Super Giants could do with more reliable power-hitters down the order.

The bowling group looks especially dangerous with Topley, Holder and Pretorius able to use their pace and variation throughout an innings, while Maharaj will lead the spin options.

Joburg Super Kings

Top batter: Reeza Hendricks (19)

Other top-100 ranked batters: Nil

Top bowler: Maheesh Theekshana (10)

Other top-100 ranked bowlers: Alzarri Joseph (52)

The Super Kings will rely on homegrown hero Hendricks and veteran skipper Faf du Plessis with the bat, particularly after England young gun Harry Brook was a late withdrawal from the team.

Joseph will look to blast through the top-order alongside emerging South African speedster Gerald Coetzee and fellow youngster Nandre Burger.

Sri Lanka spinner Theekshana can create plenty of confusion for opposition batters whether bowling early or late in an innings.

But the 22-year-old off-spinner can expect to have a heavy workload through the middle overs with few other options for slowing the run rate with pace off the ball.


MI Cape Town

Top batter: Rassie van der Dussen (24)

Other top-100 ranked batters: Liam Livingstone (87)

Top bowler: Rashid Khan (2)

Other top-100 ranked bowlers: Sam Curran (5), Kagiso Rabada (41), Odean Smith (71)

MI Cape Town have assembled the most formidable bowling attack in the league with Rashid Khan the highest-ranked bowler and Curran, Rabada and Smith among the top T20I pacers.

Curran arrives fresh from being awarded the Player of the Tournament gong at the recent ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

But perhaps just as much interest will be on Jofra Archer as the England express continues his return from injury, while his big-hitting national teammate Livingstone is also more than capable with the ball.

There are fewer standouts in the batting line-up with van der Dussen the leading T20 international although much is expected of emerging South Africa sensation Dewald Brevis.

Paarl Royals

Top batter: Jos Buttler (12)

Other top-100 ranked batters: David Miller (31), Jason Roy (51)

Top bowler: Tabraiz Shamsi (6)

Other top-100 ranked bowlers: Lungi Ngidi (33), Obed McCoy (48)

Buttler, England white-ball captain, will focus on leading the batting for the Royals as Miller takes the reins as skipper.

The captain of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 champions will be joined by experienced national teammates Roy and Eoin Morgan. Roy can be expected to arrive at the SA20 especially motivated after missing out on the T20 World Cup triumph due to poor form.

The Royals will turn to pace to race through opposition line-ups with Ngidi, McCoy and hometown hero Ferisco Adams in the attack.

Left-arm spinner Shamsi can usually be relied on to control the middle and depth overs.

Pretoria Capitals

Top batter: Rilee Rossouw (8)

Other top-100 ranked batters: Kusal Mendis (46)

Top bowler: Adil Rashid (3)

Other top-100 ranked bowlers: Anrich Nortje (9), Wayne Parnell (36), Josh Little (43)

South Africa opener and power-hitter Rossouw can quickly take the game away from the opposition with a couple of destructive openers, and will likely partner Sri Lanka keeper Mendis at the top of the order.

England batter Phil Salt is another option early in the innings and with the gloves, while New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham can be relied on to lift the run rate.

The Capitals have a well-stocked pace attack with Nortje, Parnell, Little all experienced at the elite level, and local all-round talent Migael Pretorius ready to make a mark.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid also has the control and variation to slow the flow of runs early or pick up wickets late in an innings.

Sunrisers Eastern Cape

Top batter: Aiden Markram (5)

Other top-100 ranked batters: Nil

Top bowler: No bowlers in top-100

Other top-100 ranked bowlers: Nil

The Sunrisers have mostly turned to youth with skipper Markram the only player to feature in the top-100 of the T20I rankings. The South Africa star is at least the highest-ranked batter set to appear in the SA20.

The emerging Tristan Stubbs will also lead the batting line-up after becoming the most expensive player at the SA20 2023 auction.

Netherlands international Roelof van der Merwe will bring plenty of experience and big-hitting to the lower order.

The Sunrisers have also invested in one of the top South Africa bowling talents in pacer Marco Jansen, but will have to hope experienced locals like Ottneil Baartman and Sisanda Magala can also step up.