The Mzansi Super League (MSL) is back with its second season. Last year, it became South Africa’s first city-based and franchise T20 league in South Africa. The Proteas have had a tough time this year. They lost a home Test series against Sri Lanka, had a terrible World Cup and started their World Test Championship (WTC) with a humbling loss against India.
They are somewhat in the dumps at the moment. However, this MSL 2.0 is set to revive South African cricket for now. With international stars from all over the world taking part, the second edition is all set to fire. The senior players have expressed that they feel that this tournament could be the boost that the South African domestic cricket needs.
With the tournament starting with defending champions Jozi Stars facing Cape Town Blitz on the 8th of November, let’s focus on the South African players. Here is a list of five Proteas players to watch out for in Mzansi Super League 2019.
It’s been a great year for Rassie van der Dussen so far. The 30-year-old middle-order batsman has become one of South Africa’s mainstays in white-ball cricket. It all started with his international debut last October.
He made his T20I debut first against Zimbabwe before the MSL and struck a half-century. He was then the highest run-getter in the MSL. Van der Dussen amassed 469 runs at an average of 58.62 and a strike-rate of 138.75 as he led the charge for Jozi Stars who eventually went on to lift the title.
He was South Africa’s best batsman in the World Cup as well. In his short international career, van der Dussen has already made a big impact. He is leading the run-charts (664 runs at an average of 73.77) this year for South Africa as far as ODI cricket is concerned. Also, he’s started this South African summer with a string of good scores in first-class cricket. He has two fifties and an unbeaten 154 in three games while playing for the Lions.
Thus, van der Dussen is one of the top South Africans to watch out for in this tournament. He’s scored runs in almost every tournament he’s played and will be one of Jozi Stars’ premier batters along with Chris Gayle and Reeza Hendricks.
Janneman Malan has been around the fringes of the South African national team. The Cape Cobras opening batsman has consistently played ‘A’ cricket and has also played a couple of T20Is earlier this year against Pakistan. Malan has a decent record in domestic cricket.
While he averages 52.03 in red-ball cricket, his exploits in the 50-over format are decent as well (averages 45.32 in List ‘A’ cricket). His T20 record is a middling one where he averages almost 30 and strikes at about 131.12. the right-handed opener has shown a lot of promise over the last few years.
Last year, having accumulated 306 runs at an average of 33.88, he finished at No. 6 in the list of most runs in the league. Malan has been hitting the ball really well but has failed to convert his starts regularly. During South Africa’s ‘A’ tour to India, he got starts consistently but failed to make it big. The same has been the case in the four-day domestic competition in South Africa. He did score a hundred but apart from he’s had scores of 10, 26, 4, 41 and 0.
Malan will be looking to turn things around and be a lot more consistent. Along with Quinton de Kock, he is likely to open the batting and also, will be one of the top South African players in his side (Cape Town Blitz).
It’s been another frustrating year for Dale Steyn. While he started 2019 with a lot of promise as he played for most of the summer last year but once again, as the year progressed, injuries came back to haunt him. He missed the World Cup due to a shoulder injury and has been out of action since.
Steyn bid adieu to Test cricket as he wanted to focus a lot more on white-ball cricket and prolong his career as well. However, he wasn’t picked for the T20Is in India as the selectors deemed him unfit for the tour. This will be Steyn’s first competitive match in over five months. The last time he took the field was during the IPL.
It will be very interesting to see how South Africa’s premier fast bowler goes in the upcoming edition of Mzansi Super League. It could well be a path for Steyn’s return to South African colors in limited-overs cricket. Moreover, he will lead the pace attack for the Cape Town Blitz once again this year.
JJ Smuts is a rather popular name in South African cricketing circles. The batting all-rounder has constantly been in and out of the T20I side. In fact, he’s played eight T20Is spanning over two years. But he is a consistent performer for the Warriors in domestic cricket.
He may not have eye-catching records in any format but he does have the ability to make an impact with both bat and ball. More so, with the bat. Playing for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Smuts was his team’s leading run-getter (219 runs at an average of 31.28) and the third-highest wicket-taker.
Therefore, he will once again be a key player for the Giants. The skipper will also be looking to turn things around for his side after they finished fourth last year.
Here is another upcoming talent who has been doing well in the South African domestic circuit. While Kyle Verreynne been a touch inconsistent in white-ball cricket, his form in red-ball cricket has been fabulous. He averages 52.34 in first-class cricket and has been impressive despite his ups and downs in the shorter formats.
Verreynne has a strike-rate of 93.01 in List ‘A’ cricket and 117.52 in T20s. He’s been in good form in the recent past. He played just two games for South Africa ‘A’ in their recent tour to India and batted in just one of those games. The 22-year-old struck a 24-ball 44 batting at No. 4. He has continued to impress and has started this domestic season with a bang.
The Cape Cobras wicket-keeper batsman has scored two hundred and two fifties in the six innings he’s played in the traditional four-day domestic tournament. Last year, he played just five games in the MSL and was decent there as well where he scored 107 runs at an average of 35.67. He will be one of the exciting South African stars to watch out for in MSL 2019.
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