Mzansi Super League: All 6 franchises ranked

Mzansi Super League logo (File)
Mzansi Super League logo (File)

Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA), so far, seems to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat with the Mzansi Super League (MSL)

Wednesday's player draft in Johannesburg went off smoothly, and all six franchises now have full squads complete with marquee Proteas and overseas stars. 

The squads, 17-strong, boast good depth. 

There is not quite the star power that one sees every year in the IPL or Australia's Big Bash, but for a first-time hit-out the MSL looks like it might just be worth a watch. 

Just a few weeks ago, the tournament looked almost certain to go down the same road as last year's failed T20 Global League. 

There are still concerns - the SABC's capacity to provide a world class production, the absence of a title sponsor and pulling crowds, to name a few - but the overall feeling is that the hard yards have been made.

Things get underway on November 16 with the final one month later on December 16. 

Don't put your money on it, but after Wednesday's draft we thought it would be a good idea to rank the squads from top to bottom in terms of who we think has the best chance of lifting the trophy on December 16.

1. Durban Heat

On the surface, the seasiders seem to have come out smiling. They landed spin sensation Rashid Khan with their first pick, while they also boast serious batting firepower in the form of David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen and Albie Morkel. Hashim Amla is the marquee Protea. On the bowling front, there is a return to Kingsmead for former Protea Kyle Abbott while Vernon Philander, Marchant de Lange and Keshav Maharaj add further class. The balance of this side just feels right, while Temba Bavuma's inclusion gives them an interesting option at the top of the order. 

Home ground: Kingsmead

Coach: Grant Morgan

Marquee Protea: Hashim Amla

Marquee international: Rashid Khan

Squad: David Miller (R1 000 000), Heinrich Klaasen (R900 000), Kyle Abbott (R750 000), Keshav Maharaj (R650 000), Khaya Zondo (R550 000), Albie Morkel (R350 000), Marchant de Lange (R250 000), Vernon Philander (R200 000), Brandon Mavuta (R180 000), Temba Bavuma (R150 000), Morne van Wyk (R120 000), Okuhle Cele (R100 000), Sarel Erwee (R75 000), Tladi Bokako (R50 000)

durban heat

2. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants

This side looks the real deal. They have the big hitters in Jason Roy, Chris Morris, JJ Smuts and Christiaan Jonker while Imran Tahir leads the bowling attack. The PE-based side is perhaps a little thin in the bowling department, but Proteas Junior Dala, Aaron Phangiso and Ryan McLaren help balance things out. Tahir is the key here. He can win games by himself and, when one factors in the natural hitters around him, then the Giants emerge as real title contenders. 

Home ground: St. George's Park

Coach: Eric Simons

Marquee Protea: Imran Tahir

Marquee international: Jason Roy

Squad: Chris Morris (R1 000 000), Jon-Jon Smuts (R900 000), Junior Dala (R750 000), Christiaan Jonker (R650 000), Aaron Phangiso (R550 000), Sisanda Magala (R250 000), Ryan McLaren (R200 000), Heino Kuhn (R180 000), Marco Marais (R150 000), Dyllan Matthews (R120 000), Lizaard Williams (R100 000), Rudi Second (R75 000), Carmi le Roux (R50 000)

nelson mandela bay giants

3. Tshwane Spartans

The AB de Villiers factor is obviously impossible to ignore, but Mark Boucher looks to have done a good job of finding other match-winners. Eoin Morgan is the overseas marquee player, while Rob Frylinck and Rory Kleinveldt are big-hitting allrounders. Lungi Ngidi spearheads a bowling attack that also boasts Sri Lanka's Jeevan Mendis, Andrew Birch and Shaun von Berg. De Villiers and Morgan aside, the star quality appears to be lacking somewhat in this Tshwane side, but they will be fierce competitors. 

Home ground: Centurion

Coach: Mark Boucher

Marquee Protea: AB de Villiers

Marquee international: Eoin Morgan

Squad: Lungi Ngidi (R1 000 000), Robbie Frylinck (R900 000), Jeevan Mendis (R750 000), Theunis de Bruyn (R650 000), Rory Kleinveldt (R550 000), Sean Williams (R350 000), Ben Duckett (R350 000), Gihahn Cloete (R250 000), Lutho Sipamla (R200 000), Tony de Zorzi (R180 000), Dean Elgar (R150 000), Andrew Birch (R120 000), Sikandar Raza (R100 000), Shaun von Berg (R75 000), Eldred Hawken (R50 000).

tshwane spartans

4. Paarl Rocks

On the surface, there doesn't seem too much in the way of big-hitting firepower. Vaughn van Jaarsveld is the most naturally aggressive player in the side, while Faf du Plessis is the marquee Protea. The big signing for Paarl is T20 specialist Dwayne Bravo, who is considered one of the world's best bowlers in the format. Tabraiz Shamsi and Dane Paterson give the bowling attack a healthy injection, while Cameron Delport at R120 000 may prove to be a bargain at the top of the order. 

Home ground: Boland Park

Coach: Adrian Birrell

Marquee Protea: Faf du Plessis

Marquee international: Dwayne Bravo

Squad: Tabraiz Shamsi (R1 000 000), Dane Paterson (R900 000), Aiden Markram (R750 000), Mangaliso Mosehle (650 000), Bjorn Fortuin (R550 000), Vaughn van Jaarsveld (R350 000), Grant Thomson (R250 000), Paul Stirling (R200 000), Tshepo Moreki (R180 000), Henry Davids (R150 000), Cameron Delport (R120 000), Eathan Bosch (R100 000), Patrick Kruger (R75 000), Kerwin Mungroo (R50 000).

paarl rocks

5. Jozi Stars

Chris Gayle will always be a massive name in the world of T20 cricket, but is he still capable of playing those blistering knocks? Kagiso Rabada leads a bowling attack that appears to have a nice balance with allrounders Dan Christian and Dwaine Pretorius set to play big roles. Gayle aside, the Stars might find themselves a little short in top-order batsmen who can take the game away from the opposition, but Rassie van der Dussen is one who can clear the ropes with relative ease. 

Home ground: Wanderers

Coaching and technical team: Enoch Nkwe, Wandile Gwavu, Justin Sammons, Nandile Nelson Tyali, Brett Edwards

Marquee Protea: Kagiso Rabada

Marquee international: Chris Gayle

Squad: Dane Vilas (R1 000 000), Rassie van der Dussen (R900 000), Dan Christian (R750 000), Beuran Hendricks (R650 000), Reeza Hendricks (R550 000), Dwaine Pretorius (R350 000), Eddie Leie (R250 000), Pite van Biljon (R200 000), Duanne Olivier (R180 000), Ryan Rickelton (R150 000), Sinethemba Qeshile (R120 000), Simon Harmer (R100 000), Calvin Savage (R75 000), Alfred Mothoa (R50 000).

jozi stars

6. Cape Town Blitz

Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock are the big players in this side, with the latter replacing the injured JP Duminy as the marquee Protea. Farhaan Behardien and Dawid Malan are the other explosive batters in this squad, but there does seem to be a lack of quality depth in that department. A lot will be expected of R1 million purchase Andile Phehlukwayo

Home ground: Newlands

Coach: Ashwell Prince

Marquee Protea: Quinton de Kock

Marquee international: Dawid Malan

Squad: Andile Phehlukwayo (R1 000 000), Dale Steyn (R900 000), Samuel Badree (R750 000), Asif Ali (R650 000), Farhaan Behardien (R550 000), Anrich Nortje (R350 000), Janneman Malan (R250 000), Malusi Siboto (R200 000), George Linde (R180 000), Ferisco Adams (R150 000), Jason Smith (R120 000), Sibonelo Makhanya (R100 000), Kyle Verreynne (R75 000), Dane Piedt (R50 000). 

cape town blitz
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