We are right into T20 league season now and the South African competition, the SA20 begins its second season on Wednesday when the six franchises once again line up looking to take down a title which has every chance of flourishing after a positive debut campaign.
The Sunrisers Eastern Cape were the inaugural winners of the event a year ago and they will be looking to remain the only team to have won the title but the other five teams know what it is all about now and will come back harder.
2023 – Sunrisers Eastern Cape
The six teams each play the other five home and away in the first part of the competition. The top four in the table then make it through to the playoffs which follows the IPL format rather than the two semi-finals this year. There are no hugely quirky rules for this tournament although captains will be allowed to name 13 men in their side before the toss before choosing which two players to discard after the toss has taken place. There is a bonus point available for teams who win with a run rate of 1.25 times the opposition.
MI Cape Town went into this tournament expected to dominate it a year ago but that certainly isn’t how it worked out and instead they finished bottom of the pile. It goes without saying that a lot more will be expected of them this year but they will have to do without Rashid Khan as he hasn’t recovered from injury in time. MI Cape Town do have Kieron Pollard over to offer some T20 class but there will be no Jofra Archer once again either. His England teammate Liam Livingstone has been recruited to add some power with the bat but with no Rashid Khan, Cape Town feel a little short at 4/1 to me.
The Joburg Super Kings took a bit of a while to build up a head of steam last season but when they finally got going they looked a good team and with the addition of the experienced Moeen Ali and Imran Tahir they should be even better this time around. David Wiese and Zahir Khan are further positive inclusions in their squad and the emergence of Nandre Burger is no bad thing. You can get 4/1 on a Joburg win this season and it might take a decent side to stop them.
The defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape will begin their title defence as 9/2 shots to keep hold of their crown. They probably weren’t the flashiest team last term but they were definitely the most consistent and they performed the best when it really mattered. They will have to defend the title without the leading wicket taker from last season in Roelof van der Merwe but Simon Harmer is an excellent pick up and there has been an English implosion on Cape Town with Craig Overton, Liam Dawson, Tom Abell, Brydon Carse and Dawid Malan all arriving to improve the champions. They could be ones to beat again.
The Pretoria Capitals were the table toppers last season but that didn’t help them in the playoffs and in the end they were comfortably beaten in the final last term. They will be out to go one better this time around but Phil Salt feels like a big loss to the ranks and the Capitals certainly wouldn’t want to see Will Jacks called up to the England squad should another spinner be needed in India. Paul Stirling feels like a good addition to the 5/1 shots but there is no getting around the loss of Anrich Nortje being a bit of a blow.
The Paarl Royals were my pick to win this tournament last year but it took them ages to get into a groove and they couldn’t find the required consistency to really challenge. They have managed to keep their key players together and have added Fabian Allen to their ranks too to provide another aggressive all-rounder option. The Rocks probably have the most powerful batting unit in the competition and if their spinners can tie teams down for a few overs they could be huge value at 5/1 again.
The Durban’s Super Giants flattered to deceive a little last season and they are 5/1 outsiders to bounce back from missing out on the playoffs to win the tournament this time around. They look to have a very strong squad at their disposal with Quinton de Kock, Nicholas Pooran and Heinrich Klaasen feared with the bat on their day while Reece Topley, Junior Dala, Kyle Abbott, Keemo Paul, Naveen-ul-Haq and the captain Keshav Maharaj all offering good bowling options. I would expect a huge improvement from them this term.
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It was a season which never really got going for the Durban’s Super Giants last term but I refuse to believe that a team with the talent that they have will continue to flounder. A team that has the batting firepower that they have should be able to do some real damage not just at Kingsmead but in the venues with altitude where the ball flies a lot further than normal. The likes of Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen and Nicholas Pooran have all had excellent 2023s so should be full of confidence coming into this tournament.
The real disappointment with the Super Giants last season came in the bowling department but when you look at the raft of talent that they have at their disposal I would be amazed if they perform as badly cumulatively again. We saw last season that bonus points can be big in this tournament and the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Heinrich Klaasen can bolster the run rate or chase a score down well within the required range. I think Durban have every chance here.
Tournament Top Batter
A few firms have priced up the tournament top batter and one player jumps out at me here, especially in light of the fact that I like the Durban’s Super Giants to win the competition. That player is Heinrich Klaasen who finished fourth in the run charts last year and was only 28 runs off top spot even though the three above him had more innings in the tournament than him. That campaign was probably before Klaasen caught fire in the latter part of the year.
Since that tournament Klaasen has smoked it to all parts in The Hundred and then absolutely creamed it everywhere in the World Cup and has turned into one of the more sought after commodities in the white ball game. We know that Kingsmead isn’t the biggest ground in the world so Klaasen should be able to go big in this tournament. Generally openers are the ones to be on in a tournament of this kind but Klaasen is scoring so quickly these days that he soon catches up. I think he is a big price at 18/1.
Tournament Top Bowler
The two top bowlers from last season aren’t in the competition this term so it stands to reason that the man who finished third last year will have every chance here, especially as Gerald Coetzee has come to prominence in the international game since then. He took 17 wickets in just nine matches and generally had a very good impact for the Joburg Super Kings. It helps that his home matches are at altitude so he gets a bit more pace on the ball than he normally might.
I always want bowlers who bowl at the death in these T20 competitions and Coetzee fits that particular bill. He might not necessarily open the bowling but I don’t so much mind that because batters these days don’t really take the sort of risks they once did in the powerplay, it is more about wickets in hand and things but Coetzee has become one of the best bowlers in South Africa in recent times and more than held his own in the World Cup a few months ago. At 12/1 he feels overpriced particularly based on his performance in this last season.
Back Durban’s Super Giants to win SA20 2024 for a 2/10 stake at 6.00 with William Hill
Back them here:
Back H.Klaasen Top Tournament Batter (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 19.00 with Bet365 (1/4 1-4)
Back G.Coetzee Top Tournament Bowler (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 with Bet365 (1/4 1-4)