Mzansi Super League is South Africa’s top professional T20 league that is played in South Africa every year. This league was started in the year 2018 after replacing the defunct Ram Slam T20 Challenge.
Till now, two editions of MSL have been successfully conducted. 2019 is the latest edition of MSL. Paarl Rocks are the defending champions of MSL as they defeated the Tshwane Spartans by 8 wickets in the final of the 2019 edition.
Earlier before the start of the Mzansi Super League, Cricket South Africa had planned to start a tournament called the Global T20 league. Eight teams based on proteas cities were formed in 2017 and the tournament was scheduled to start from November 2017. All the teams were owned by separate private franchisees and not the CSA.
But due to the financial crisis, the first edition was pushed to next year. The very next year the tournament was called-off and was replaced by a tournament consisting of 6 teams owned by CSA called Mzansi Super League.
In 2020, due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country, the MSL was postponed to next year (2021). The CSA couldn’t get a window for conducting the tournament in 2020 due to the jam-packed calendar of cricket post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 2020/2021 global cricket calendar will be jam-packed, appreciating the ICC’s efforts to fit as many missed international tours due to Covid-19, into this period. The impact of revised calendars for international cricket across all ICC Members and other T20 leagues, has had a knock-on effect on South African cricket scheduling,” said the CSA’s acting CEO.
The upcoming edition of MSL will be played in the year 2021. The official dates and schedule haven’t been announced yet.
The usual window for conducting this league is in the month of November-December. But CSA will be aware of the fact that the T20 World Cup is also scheduled during the October-November period. Hence accordingly the CSA board will prepone or postpone this league this year.
In the two editions played so far, six teams had participated in the tournament. The 3rd season in 2021 will also see the addition of two new teams in cities based on Bloemfontein, Free State, and East London, Eastern Cape. Thus the upcoming season will have 8 teams participating in the tournament.
1. Cape Town Blitz
Cape Town Blitz is the MSL franchise based in Cape Town which is in the Western Cape of South Africa. This team is led by Proteas’ former national skipper Quinton De Kock and coached by Ashwell Prince. The Blitz were the runners-up of the inaugural season (2018).
The Blitz play their home matches at the Newlands Cricket Ground which has a seating capacity of 25,000. The Blitz has a strong pace-bowling department that suits their home pitches. They have overseas marquee player Wahab Riaz, experienced Dale Steyn, and speedy Andrich Norjte who can exploit the conditions of Newlands to the fullest.
2. Durban Heat
Durban Heat is a franchise led by Dane Vilas and coached by Gary Kirsten. The Heat is based in Durban city. Durban Heat plays their home matches at the Kingsmead cricket ground.
Ravi Bopara and Alex Hales are two international star players who are a part of this team. This team is yet to win its maiden title.
3. Paarl Rocks
Paarl Rocks are the current champions of MSL as they were crowned the champions of 2019 by defeating Spartans in the final. Faf Du Plessis is the current captain of the Rocks.
The Rocks are based at the Paarl City of the Western Cape as they play their home matches at Boland Park whose seating capacity is 10,000. JP Duminy, Hardus Viljoen, Isuru Udana and Tabriz Shamsi are the top-rated players in this team.
4. Jozi Stars
Jozi Stars is a franchisee of the MSL based in the city of Johannesburg. The home venue for the Stars is New Wanderers Stadium which has a seating capacity of 34,000. Jozi Stars are the champions of the inaugural edition of MSL.
Temba Bavuma who is also the captain of proteas in the white ball is the captain of the Jozi Stars as well. Universe Boss Chris Gayle is the overseas marque player of the team. Shoaib Malik, Kagiso Rabada, Dan Christian, Reeza Hendricks, and Rassie Van der Dussen are the top-rated players on the team.
5. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Bay Giants is an MSL team led by JJ Smuts and coached by Eric Simons. In the two years played so far, the Bay Giants have failed to go through the final and win the title.
Jason Roy is the only overseas marquee player of the giants. The giants are based at Port Elizabeth of the Western Cape. They play their home matches at the St George’s Park cricket ground whose capacity is 19,000.
6. Tshwane Spartans
Tshwane Spartans an MSL team based at Centurian and play their home matches at the SuperSports Park stadium with a capacity of 22,000. Wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen is the captain of the Spartans and former wicketkeeper Mark Boucher is the coach of this team.
The Spartans have a star player AB De Villiers, marque overseas player, Eoin Morgan, and Proteas stars like Lungi Ngidi, Dean Elgar, Rilee Rossouw, etc.
The Mzansi Super League is played in a double-round robin format where each team plays all other teams twice. With the addition of two new teams, the league stage matches will be increased from 30 to 56 games.
Each team will play 14 matches in the tournament excluding the matches of the knock-outs.
Points System –
For a Win – 4 points
For a defeat – 0 points
For No Result – 2 points shared between teams
For a tie – winner will be decided in the super over
Additionally, the winning team gets a bonus point if the run rate is better than 1.25 times that of the losing side.
The top-3 teams will qualify for the knock-outs. The team that has finished number one in the points table after the completion of all 56 matches will straight away play the final.
Eliminator – The 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the points table will play the Eliminator. The winner will reach the final, while the loser is eliminated from the tournament.
Final – The table-topper and winner from the Eliminator game will play the final. The winner of the final of course lifts the title.
Prize Award Distribution –
The Champion team will receive a big trophy along with a prize of South African Rand 7 millions. The runners up will receive south African Rand 2.5 millions.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation has been given the rights by CSA to broadcast all matches in the country. While the global sports commerce had won the rights for international broadcasting of the MSL tournament.
A total of 10 major regions around the world broadcast the MSL tournament. The regions are Afghanistan, Caribbean islands, India and rest of the sub-continent, Middle East, Northern Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, UK and US.
Team Records –
Paarl Rocks and Jozi Stars are the two most successful teams to have won one title each.
|1||Jozi Stars||Cape Town Blitz||2018|
|2||Paarl Rocks||Tshwane Spartans||2019|
Reeza Hendricks has scored the most runs so far in the two seasons of MSL. He has scored 687 runs averaging just under 50 (49.07 to be precise) at a decent strike rate of 134.97. He has also scored 2 centuries and 2 fifties. Quinton De Kock is only other batter to have scored a ton in MSL history.
|TOP-10 RUN GETTERS|
|Reeza Hendricks [Jozi Stars]||687|
|Janneman Malan [Cape Town Blitz]||663|
|Quinton De Kock [Cape Town Blitz]||647|
|AB De Villiers [Tshwane Spartans]||607|
|Van der Dussen [Jozi Stars]||599|
|Faf du Plessis [Paarl Rocks]||537|
|Cameron Delport [Paarl Rocks]||461|
|JJ Smuts [Nelson Mandela Bay Giants]||457|
|Dean Elgar [Tshwane Spartans]||418|
|Ben Dunk [Nelson Mandela Bay Giants]||415|
Duanne Olivier and Dale Steyn are joint leading wicket-takers of the MSL. Olivier has taken 27 wickets averaging just 16.33. While Steyn has the same number of wickets at a lower economy rate of 6.77.
Tabriz Shamsi and Imran Tahir are the only spinners in the top-10 list which clearly shows that MSL is a pacers dominant tournament.
|Duanne Olivier [Jozi Stars]||27|
|Dale Steyn [Cape Town Blitz]||27|
|Tabriz Shamsi [Paarl Rocks]||26|
|Imran Tahir [Nelson Mandela Bay Giants]||21|
|Kagiso Rabada [Jozi Stars]||21|
|Sisanda Magala [Cape Town Blitz]||19|
|Chris Morris [Nelson Mandela Bay Giants]||19|
|Bjorn Fortuin [Paarl Rocks]||17|
|Junior Dala [Nelson Mandela Bay Giants]||17|
|Lutho Sipamla [Tshwane Spartans]||17|
Has MSL befinited the South African national team?
Yes, as South Africa is undergoing a transition period in all formats, the selectors of South Africa have decided to pick players who have not only performed in domestic first class cricket but also pick talent from the Mzansi Super League as well.
Players like Junior Dala, Lutho Sipamla, Janneman Malan have made through the national side by outstanding performances in the MSL.
Why is MSL not rated so high like other leagues around the world?
Because of the fact that CSA took a while to start a premier league which consisted of overseas stars, the MSL hasn’t been so popular yet.
With a lot of difficulties, the CSA has finally gained good sponsors for this league. Hence it will take a while for this league to develop into a popular one like IPL, PSL or BBL.