Incepted in 2005-06, McDonald's Super Smash - the most popular and entertaining twenty20 domestic tournament of New Zealand - returns for its 12th edition this year. The tournament was previously known as State Twenty20, HRV Twenty20 and Georgie Pie Super Smash.
Just like the past editions, there will be six participating teams who will play each other in a double round-robin format. This means that each team will face every other team twice before the top three teams are determined who will then advance to the knockout stage comprising of a Preliminary Final and the final.
Following the end of the league stage, the top ranked team will automatically make its place in the final while the second and third positioned teams will battle it out in the preliminary final to book the second spot in the final. McDonald's Super Smash will run through December 4, 2016 till January 7, 2017.
Read on for team previews, key players, betting tips and prediction for McDonald's Super Smash 2016-17….
They are the current champions and four-time tournament winners. They finished as runners-up on three occasions in the past.
Rob Nicol (c), Michael Barry, Mark Chapman, Donovan Grobbelaar, Michael Guptill-Bunce, Ben Horne, Dane Hutchinson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tymal Mills, Tarun Nethula, Glenn Phillips, Jeet Raval and Sean Solia.
Mark Chapman and skipper Rob Nicol will be the ones to watch out for with the bat while Mitchell McClenaghan and Tymal Mills are expected to be lethal with their pace bowling throughout the season.
They won the tournament in the 2008-09 and 2012-13 editions and are also three-time runners-up. They finished as table toppers at the end of the league stage last season.
Hamish Rutherford (c), Warren Barnes, Neil Broom, Michael Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Josh Finnie, Anaru Kitchen, Bradley Scott, Christi Viljoen, Neil Wagner and Brad Wilson.
Hamish Rutherford averaged 64 last year and he will be the key in their batting lineup while Warren Barnes who was the most impressive of all the bowlers with 15 wickets is likely to trouble oppositions this year as well.
They are winners of 2007-08 and 2009-10 editions and they have come runners-up only once in the past. They finished fourth in the standings last year.
Will Young (c), Doug Bracewell, Tom Bruce, Josh Clarkson, Dane Cleaver (w), Marty Kain, Ryan McCone, Ben Smith, Blair Tickner, Seth Rance, Ben Wheeler and George Worker.
Tom Bruce was among the top run-getters for the team last season and his current form makes him a valuable batsmen in the side. Pace attack will be led by Seth Rance who we predict to cause many problems for the batsmen.
They won the inaugural edition back in 2005-06 and have come runners-up on two occasions. They were third on the points table last year.
Andrew Ellis (c), Jeremy Benton, Chad Bowes, Cameron Fletcher (w), Peter Fulton, Ben Hilfenhaus, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Johnston, Ken McClure, Cole McConchie, Ed Nuttall and Logan van Beek.
Peter Fulton and Cameron Fletcher are the ones who can deliver with the bat and score the big runs for them. Skipper Andrew Ellis was the pick of the bowlers last year and he will be asking plenty of questions of batsmen once again this year.
2013-14 was the most successful season for them when they went on to lift the trophy. They reached the finals in 2007-08 but lost to Central Districts Stags. They came fifth in the league standings last season.
Dean Brownlie (c), Corey Anderson, Jono Boult, Joe Carter, Zak Gibson, Brett Hampton, Nick Kelly, Ben Laughlin, Daryl Mitchell, Nathan Reardon, Tim Seifert (w) and Ish Sodhi.
Corey Anderson has the ability to turn the game on its head with his attacking strokes and we predict him to fire consistently for the Knights. Offspinner Jono Boult took 10 wickets last year and he could spell trouble for the batsmen again.
They won the title in the season before the last in 2014-15 and were beaten in the finals of 2012-13 edition by Otago Volts. They finished at the bottom of the pool last season.
Hamish Marshall (c), Brent Arnel, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (w), Jade Dernbach, Stephen Murdoch, Michael Papps, Michael Pollard, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi, Matt Taylor and Luke Woodcock.
Stephen Murdoch and returnee Hamish Marshall will be their big guns with the bat and we predict them to do the bulk of the scoring. Fast bowlers Hamish Bennett and Jade Dernbach will be relied upon heavily when it comes to bowling.
Auckland Aces and Otago Volts are the two teams that have performed consistently in the past and therefore start as the biggest title contenders this season. They finished as the top two teams on the points table after the end of the league stage in the previous season and are looking set for another appearance in the knockout round. Central Districts Stags is likely to be the third team to join them in the knockouts. Though they will have the likes of Ross Taylor, Adam Milne and Jesse Ryder missing from their squad, we still feel they have enough firepower to reach the prelims if not the final.
Auckland Aces have been the most successful team in the history of the competition with four previous title triumphs. They won the tournament last year and came runners-up before that in 2014-15. The team is also blessed to have several New Zealand internationals on their roster in addition to a nice blend of experience and young blood. The defending champions are coming with back-to-back successful seasons and so we predict them to continue their impressive form this year and bag their fifth title.