Mzansi Super League teams all set to run out
Who has the muscle for a good innings? We look at how the teams square up
Not only does the Mzansi Super League have a main sponsor, which was revealed a few days ago, but the teams have been put together ahead of the November 16 start.
There will be a league, but how do the teams square up?
Cape Town Blitz and the Tshwane Spartans will kick off proceedings at Newlands.
Team: Cape Town Blitz
Coach: Ashwell Prince
Protea marquee player: Quinton de Kock
Overseas marquee player: Dawid Malan (England)
Full Squad: Quinton de Kock, Dawid Malan (England), Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Samuel Badree (Windies), Asif Ali (Pakistan), Farhaan Behardien, Anrich Nortje, Janneman Malan, Malusi Siboto, George Linde, Ferisco Adams, Jason Smith, Sibonelo Makhanya, Kyle Verreynne (rookie), Dane Piedt.
Strengths: Top order power is trending in this team with the likes of De Kock, Dawid Malan and Janneman Malan (unrelated). There's also the significant presence of Behardien in the middle order as a batsman who cannot only stem collapses, but accelerate when needed. They also have some quality spin options in West Indian Badree, Linde and Piedt.
Weaknesses: While they may have Steyn, Phehlukwayo and Nortje as very good strike bowlers, the relative strength (batting wise) of the all-rounders is untested in the short format. Makhanya's a decent 50-over and four-day batsman, but hasn't had the requisite batting opportunities. Smith and Adams are also relatively untested. The potential is there, but can it be unlocked? Also, what does Ali bring to the plate?
Team: Durban Heat
Coach: Grant Morgan
Protea marquee player: Hashim Amla
Overseas marquee player: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Full Squad: Hashim Amla, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Kyle Abbott (Kolpak), Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Albie Morkel, Marchant de Lange (Kolpak), Vernon Philander, Brandon Mavuta (Zimbabwe), Temba Bavuma, Morne van Wyk, Okuhle Cele (rookie), Sarel Erwee, Tladi Bokako.
Strengths: The ball will turn with Khan, Maharaj and Mavuta in this team. With Kingsmead being on the slow side recently, spin will be a valuable asset and Morgan has done well to purchase some good slow-bowling options. They may have lost out on Wayne Parnell, but Morkel fills that void as a batting all-rounder. There's also power hitting in the form of Van Wyk, Miller and Klaasen, while fire-fighters like Zondo and Bavuma are on hand to stem collapses.
Weaknesses: The fast bowling bar De Lange looks a bit thin. Philander is a Test-match ace, but the jury is out regarding his suitability as a short-format bowler. It's also ironic that Philander's rise as a Test-match man has mirrored his white-ball decline and teams will target his lack of pace. Abbott is also a good fast-bowling pick, but this isn't a particular strength of this team.
Team: Jozi Stars
Stadium: The Wanderers
Coach: Enoch Nkwe
Protea marquee player: Kagiso Rabada
Overseas marquee player: Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Full Squad: Kagiso Rabada, Chris Gayle (Windies), Dane Vilas (Kolpak), Rassie van der Dussen, Daniel Christian (Australia), Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius, Eddie Leie, Pite van Biljon, Duanne Olivier, Ryan Rickelton, Sinethemba Qeshile (rookie), Simon Harmer (Kolpak), Calvin Savage, Alfred Mothoa.
Strengths: There's batting power all round in this outfit, stretching from Gayle, Vilas, Van der Dussen, Christian, Reeza Hendricks, Van Biljon and Pretorius. They also have some talented young players in Rickelton and Qeshile, so from a batting perspective, this side is well sorted. However, they'll need their batting to fire because...
Weaknesses: Their fast-bowling options aren't the strongest outside of Rabada. Olivier, Beuran Hendricks, Mothoa and Savage are honest, but not mind-blowing operators However, pace merchants also tend to travel in this format. They'll also need their spinners in Harmer and Leie to be fit and available for the whole month as they are very thin in this department. The balance of this attack will be crucial to this team's success.
Team: Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Stadium: St George's Park
Coach: Eric Simons
Proteas marquee player: Imran Tahir
Overseas marquee player: Jason Roy (England)
Full Squad: Imran Tahir, Jason Roy (England), Chris Morris, Jon-Jon Smuts, Junior Dala, Christiaan Jonker, Aaron Phangiso, Ben Duckett (England), Sisanda Magala, Ryan McLaren, Heino Kuhn, Marco Marais, Dyllan Matthews (rookie), Lizaad Williams, Rudi Second, Carmi le Roux.
Strength: This is an interesting combination, but the one thing that stands out in this squad are the power hitters. Roy, Duckett, Marais and Jonker can give the ball a fair whack, while the likes of Smuts and Second can pace an innings expertly. With Tahir and Phangiso as their main spinners, they're sorted.
Weaknesses: Not many glaring ones, but Matthews is a bit of an unknown quantity. McLaren, Magala, Williams, Morris and Le Roux are all good pacemen, but how they are balanced and used will be very important.
Team: Paarl Rocks
Stadium: Boland Park
Coach: Adrian Birrell
Protea marquee player: Faf du Plessis
Overseas marquee player: Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)
Full Squad: Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo (Windies), Tabraiz Shamsi, Dane Paterson, Aiden Markram, Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn Fortuin, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Grant Thomson, Paul Stirling (Ireland), Tshepo Moreki, Henry Davids, Cameron Delport (Kolpak), Eathan Bosch (rookie), Patrick Kruger, Kerwin Mungroo
Strengths: This side has some serious batsmen and has the look of a unit that'll prefer chasing than setting targets. Batsmen like Stirling and Van Jaarsveld could prove to be smart acquisitions, alongside a blaster like Delport and a touch player like Davids. There's some serious experience here and their bowling unit doesn't look too bad either.
Weaknesses: They don't have a power hitter, something their assistant coach, Geoff Toyana, bemoaned. They couldn't get David Wiese on their roster and they couldn't cover that gap in the rest of the draft.
Team: Tshwane Spartans
Stadium: SuperSport Park, Centurion
Coach: Mark Boucher
Protea marquee player: AB de Villiers
Overseas marquee player: Eoin Morgan
Full Squad: AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan (England), Lungi Ngidi, Robbie Frylinck, Jeevan Mendis (Sri Lanka), Theunis de Bruyn, Rory Kleinveldt, Sean Williams (Zimbabwe), Gihahn Cloete, Lutho Sipamla (rookie), Tony de Zorzi (rookie), Dean Elgar, Andrew Birch, Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe), Shaun von Berg, Eldred Hawken
Strengths: Firstly, this team has some serious rookies in Sipamla and the accomplished De Zorzi, and there's some serious hitting in the form of De Villiers, Cloete, Morgan and De Bruyn. Their pace stocks are also reasonable in Birch, Kleinveldt and Ngidi, while Frylinck adds the necessary lower-order hitting muscle.
Weaknesses: Their spin department isn't the strongest, even though they have Williams, but Von Berg and Mendis aren't the type to make batsmen tremble. They'll need their pacemen to deliver.