Mzansi Super League 2018: ONE KEY PLAYER FROM EACH OF THE SIX FRANCHISE
By Yash Mittal
Mzansi Super League 2018 | Key Players from each Franchise
The Big Picture After the last minute fall out last year that resulted in winding up the newly formed T20 franchise tournament (Global T20 League), Cricket South Africa has finally come up with a Plan B- The Mzansi Super League. The six-franchise T20 competition will run across the length and breadth of South Africa from November 16th to December 16 and is set to feature a plethora of International stars as well as unearth domestic talents. 32 matches will be played between six teams namely- Cape Town Blitz, Durban Heat, Jozi Stars, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Paarl Rocks and Tshwane Spartans. The tournament will be played with a double round-robin system which means each team will play the other twice bit it is the qualificiation scenario that makes this tournament to others. According to the rules laid out by the league, the team that finishes at the top of the pile after the league stage will get a direct entry into the finals while the eliminator will be played out between the second and third-placed team. Today, here’s a look at one key player from each of the six franchises
#1 Jozi Stars- Chris Gayle
No T20 tournament can ever be completed without the inclusion of Chris Gayle in it. The swashbuckling Jamaican is the leading run-getter in the history of T20 cricket, and on his day is like a tornado that can sweep anyone in sight when in full flow. Gayle, who played a match-winning knock of 53 to take his side, Balkh Legends, to the 2018 Afghanistan Premier League title, will turn out for Jozi Stars in Mzansi Super League, a side that boasts of players like Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen and international recruit, Dane Christian. In 353 T20 games, Gayle has racked up 12,052 runs which include 21 hundred at a strike-rate of 148.29.
Rashid Khan was the first name to come up when the drafts took place last month and such has been his demand in the T20 circuit that the Durban Heat did not hesitate to snap him in the first go. Rashid brings a lot to the table in white-ball cricket, especially in the shortest format of the game. His wrong’un is one of the most difficult balls to pick bamboozling even the best of cricketers. Apart from his imperious bowling skills, Rashid’s steely temperament makes him his captain’s go-to bowler. His ability to bowl in the powerplays as well as in the death overs without the fear of being taken to the cleaners coupled with his ability to play handy cameos with the bat, Rashid is certainly a great T20 asset. And, his numbers in 2018 back it with disdain. With 82 wickets in 53 matches, Rashid is the leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket this year- 14 ahead of the second-placed Andrew Tye.
Proteas’ leading leg-spinner Imran Tahir is one of best white-ball bowlers going around. With an incredible zeal to thrive against the odds, his celebratory run after taking a wicket and truckloads of variation at his disposal, Tahir is the go-to bowler for any team that he plays for. Tahir is coming off a good run-of-form off late and will be the X-factor of the Nelson Mandela unit.
#4 Tshwane Spartans-AB de Villiers
Some players rise to the top is a result of sheer hard work passion, tenacity, a natural flair and an unrelenting zeal to succeed- Ab de Villiers is one of those special players who has all the aforementioned ingredients tuned to the zenith. The swashbuckling South African batsman shocked the cricketing folklore with his sudden decision to retire from International cricket after having an incredible IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. de Villiers will return to cricket with the Mzansi Super League where he’ll lead Tshwane Spartans, and the fans will hope they get to witness Mr 360’s version 2.0 in full flow.
#5 Dale Steyn- Cape Town Blitz
‘Never say never’. Dale Steyn is an ideal custodian to the statement. Every time the veteran fast bowler gets injured, people start writing obituaries about his career and each time Steyn makes a comeback with disdain. His latest comeback in white-ball cricket is. another testimony to the burning desire that Steyn posses of playing cricket. Steyn, who had an impressive run against Zimbabwe and Australia, will spearhead the fast bowling attack of Cape Town Blitz in the Mzansi Super League.
#6 Paarl Rocks- Dwayne Bravo
The West Indian all-rounder has been colossal in T20 circuit ever since its inception. One of the most sought after cricketers’ in franchise cricket, Bravo brings a lot to the table. His right-arm mediums and the bag of tricks (Read:- slower ball), swashbuckling hitting at the backend of the innings coupled with imperious fielding, the Trinidadian is a complete package. What makes Bravo even more special is his steely temperament and ability to perform when the stakes are at an all-time high. Bravo played a crucial part in two World T20 titles for the Windies apart from his title-winning performances for the Chennai Super Kings and Trinbago Knight Riders. Bravo, who recently retired from International Cricket will represent Paarl Rocks in the Mzansi Super League and will be their X-Factor in a side that boasts of Faf du Plessis, Paul Stirling and Aiden Markram.