Mzansi Super League - the most popular twenty20 cricket tournament of South Africa - is all set to return for its second edition. The tournament featuring six teams is scheduled to run through November 8 till December 16. A total of 32 matches will be played which includes 30 league-stage fixtures in addition to the Eliminator and the Final. The team finishing at the top of the points table at the end of the league phase will get a direct entry to the final while the second and third placed teams will battle it out in the eliminator for the remaining spot in the final that will be played at the home ground of the top-ranked team. Like the inaugural season last year, the league stage of the MSL 2019 will be played in a double round-robin format with each team playing every other team twice.
Read on for team previews, betting odds, tips and predictions for Mzansi Super League 2019....
|Nov 08, Fri||Jozi Stars vs Cape Town Blitz, 1st Match New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 09, Sat||Durban Heat vs Tshwane Spartans, 2nd Match Kingsmead, Durban||4:00 PM 10:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 10, Sun||Paarl Rocks vs Cape Town Blitz, 3rd Match Boland Park, Paarl||1:30 PM 08:00 AM GMT / 10:00 AM LOCAL|
|Nov 10, Sun||Nelson Mandela Bay Giants vs Jozi Stars, 4th Match St George's Park, Port Elizabeth||5:30 PM 12:00 PM GMT / 02:00 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 13, Wed||Tshwane Spartans vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, 5th Match SuperSport Park, Centurion||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 14, Thu||Cape Town Blitz vs Jozi Stars, 6th Match Newlands, Cape Town||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 15, Fri||Durban Heat vs Paarl Rocks, 7th Match Kingsmead, Durban||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 16, Sat||Jozi Stars vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, 8th Match New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg||4:00 PM 10:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 17, Sun||Durban Heat vs Cape Town Blitz, 9th Match Kingsmead, Durban||1:30 PM 08:00 AM GMT / 10:00 AM LOCAL|
|Nov 17, Sun||Paarl Rocks vs Tshwane Spartans, 10th Match Boland Park, Paarl||5:30 PM 12:00 PM GMT / 02:00 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 20, Wed||Nelson Mandela Bay Giants vs Cape Town Blitz, 11th Match St George's Park, Port Elizabeth||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 21, Thu||Tshwane Spartans vs Durban Heat, 12th Match SuperSport Park, Centurion||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 22, Fri||Paarl Rocks vs Jozi Stars, 13th Match Boland Park, Paarl||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 23, Sat||Nelson Mandela Bay Giants vs Durban Heat, 14th Match St George's Park, Port Elizabeth||4:00 PM 10:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 24, Sun||Cape Town Blitz vs Paarl Rocks, 15th Match Newlands, Cape Town||1:30 PM 08:00 AM GMT / 10:00 AM LOCAL|
|Nov 24, Sun||Jozi Stars vs Tshwane Spartans, 16th Match New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg||5:30 PM 12:00 PM GMT / 02:00 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 27, Wed||Nelson Mandela Bay Giants vs Paarl Rocks, 17th Match St George's Park, Port Elizabeth||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 28, Thu||Cape Town Blitz vs Durban Heat, 18th Match Newlands, Cape Town||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 29, Fri||Tshwane Spartans vs Paarl Rocks, 19th Match SuperSport Park, Centurion||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Nov 30, Sat||Durban Heat vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, 20th Match Kingsmead, Durban||4:00 PM 10:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 01, Sun||Jozi Stars vs Paarl Rocks, 21st Match New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg||1:30 PM 08:00 AM GMT / 10:00 AM LOCAL|
|Dec 01, Sun||Cape Town Blitz vs Tshwane Spartans, 22nd Match Newlands, Cape Town||5:30 PM 12:00 PM GMT / 02:00 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 03, Tue||Nelson Mandela Bay Giants vs Tshwane Spartans, 23rd Match St George's Park, Port Elizabeth||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 04, Wed||Paarl Rocks vs Durban Heat, 24th Match Boland Park, Paarl||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 05, Thu||Tshwane Spartans vs Jozi Stars, 25th Match SuperSport Park, Centurion||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 06, Fri||Cape Town Blitz vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, 26th Match Newlands, Cape Town||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 07, Sat||Jozi Stars vs Durban Heat, 27th Match New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg||4:00 PM 10:30 AM GMT / 12:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 08, Sun||Paarl Rocks vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, 28th Match Boland Park, Paarl||1:30 PM 08:00 AM GMT / 10:00 AM LOCAL|
|Dec 08, Sun||Tshwane Spartans vs Cape Town Blitz, 29th Match SuperSport Park, Centurion||5:30 PM 12:00 PM GMT / 02:00 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 10, Tue||Durban Heat vs Jozi Stars, 30th Match Kingsmead, Durban||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 05:30 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 13, Fri||TBC vs TBC, Eliminator (2nd v 3rd) TBC, TBC||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 09:00 PM LOCAL|
|Dec 16, Mon||TBC vs TBC, Final TBC, TBC||9:00 PM 03:30 PM GMT / 09:00 PM LOCAL|
Paarl Rocks have retained Henry Davids, Tabraiz Shamsi, Cameron Delport, Bjorn Fortuin, Mangaliso Mosehle and Aiden Markram from the previous edition. South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis will continue to be the franchise's marquee player. The Rocks have signed former Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy who had missed the inaugural season of the Mzansi Super League due to injury. Hardus Viljoen is another notable signing for the team and the pacer is all set to make his debut in the tournament. Paarl Rocks have picked Sri Lankan all-rounder Isuru Udana as a replacement for England's David Willey who has been withdrawn from the tournament.
The Rocks had a pretty good tournament last year, qualifying for the eliminator after finishing third on the points table with five wins and as many losses from their ten league matches. They were unfortunate to not make it to the final as their eliminator match against Jozi Stars got abandoned due to rain which resulted in their elimination from the competition due to their lower position on the points table. Faf du Plessis was the standout performer with the bat for Paarl Rocks last season with 318 runs in eight innings. Tabraiz Shamsi was one of their best bowlers having picked ten wickets in nine matches.
Jean-Paul Duminy, Isuru Udana, Henry Davids, James Vince, Faf du Plessis, Mangaliso Mosehle, Dwaine Pretorius, Hardus Viljoen, Aiden Markram, Cameron Delport, Sibonelo Makhanya, Tabraiz Shamsi, Ferisco Adams, Bjorn Fortuin, Kerwin Mungroo, Thando Ntini
Tshwane Spartans have AB de Villiers as their local marquee player while England paceman Tom Curran is the team's new international marquee player. The franchise has signed former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel and he will be one of the major threats in this bowling unit. Heinrich Klaasen has also been added in the squad and the wicketkeeper-batsman had cracked a century in this year's Global T20 Canada while playing for Toronto Nationals. Afghanistan's left-arm chinaman Waqar Salamkheil is the youngest recruit for the Spartans this season. Theunis de Bruyn, Lutho Sipamla, Lungi Ngidi and Tony de Zorzi are the ones to have been retained from last year.
Tshwane Spartans did not have a good tournament in the previous edition as they finished fifth on the leaderboard at the end of the league stage with four wins and six defeats. They lost both their encounters against Cape Town Blitz and Durban Heat but beat Paarl Rocks twice. AB de Villiers was one the team's top performers with the bat last time having scored 282 runs while Lutho Sipamla finished among the tournament's leading wicket-takers with 16 wickets.
AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Tom Curran, Corbin Bosch, Lungi Ngidi, Petrus van Biljon, Heinrich Klaasen, Tony de Zorzi, Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla, Waqar Salamkheil, Donavon Ferreira
Chris Gayle will continue to be the international marquee player for the Jozi Stars and the West Indian will be the one to watch out for as far as their batting is concerned. South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada will be lethal with the ball in these conditions and he will serve as the team's local marquee player. The franchise has included Temba Bavuma in the squad and he will be joining fellow batsmen Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks who have been retained from the previous season. The Stars have also retained Dan Christian, Duanne Olivier, Ryan Rickelton and Sinethemba Qeshile.
Jozi Stars went all the way to win the Mzansi Super League last year. They won six and lost four matches in the league phase to finish second on the points table. Their campaign got off to a rather ordinary start with three defeats from their first four matches. The Stars then made a strong comeback in the tournament, winning five of their last six fixtures to seal their place in the eliminator. They met Cape Town Blitz in the final and beat them by eight wickets to lift the trophy. Rassie van der Dussen topped the runs charts with 469 runs while Duanne Olivier finished as the tournament's best bowler with 20 wickets.
Chris Gayle, Daniel Christian, Aaron Phangiso, Lizaad Williams , Temba Bavuma, Reeza Hendricks, Simon Harmer, Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson, Duanne Olivier, Nono Pongolo, Ryan Rickelton, Eathan Bosch, Sinethemba Qeshile, Delano Potgieter
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir and England batsman Jason Roy will continue to act as the local marquee player and international marquee player respectively for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. All-rounder Chris Morris and pace bowler Junior Dala along with Marco Marais, JJ Smuts and Heino Kuhn have been retained by the team for this year's MSL. The new signings include batsmen Farhaan Behardien, Ben Dunk and Matthew Breetzke as well as left-arm seam bowlers Beuran Hendricks and Nandre Burger. Heino Kuhn is the other wicketkeeper in the squad apart from Breetzke and Dunk. The Giants have also picked batting all-rounders Grant Thomson and Onke Nyaku.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants struggled to find consistency in the previous edition of the Mzansi Super League. They finished fourth in the league standings after winning four and losing as many from their eight completed encounters. They started off really well though having secured four wins in their first five completed matches. However, it all went downhill for them thereafter as they suffered defeat in each of their last three completed matches. JJ Smuts scored the most runs (219 including two fifties) for the Giants last time while Chris Morris picked the most wickets - nine from seven matches.
Heino Kuhn, Jason Roy, Imran Tahir, JJ Smuts, Ben Dunk, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Beuran Hendricks, Junior Dala, Grant Thomson, Akhona Mnyaka, Matthew Breetzke, Marco Marais, Dyllan Matthews, Nandre Burger, Onke Nyaku
Durban Heat have all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo as their local marquee player and England batsman Alex Hales as their international marquee player for MSL 2019. The franchise has retained a few players from the previous edition - David Miller, Keshav Maharaj, Kyle Abbott, Khaya Zondo and Sarel Erwee. Ravi Bopara has been signed by the Heat this year and he is one of the many all-rounders in the side including Andile Phehlukwayo, Sarel Erwee, Prenelan Subrayen, Robbie Frylinck and Shaun von Berg. Dane Vilas, who led Jozi Stars to title triumph last year, is another notable addition to the squad. He is the lone specialist wicketkeeper in this team.
Durban Heat had a forgettable MSL season last year when they finished at the bottom of the points table with just three wins and six losses from their ten league matches. They made a horrible start to their campaign and lost six out of their first seven completed fixtures. The Heat did manage to win their last two encounters - against Cape Town Blitz and Tshwane Spartans - but those wins could not get them off the bottom position. Khaya Zondo was the team's highest run-getter last season with 216 runs and pacer Kyle Abbott finished as their best bowler with ten wickets.
Ravi Bopara, David Miller, Alex Hales, Robbie Frylinck, Dane Vilas, Prenelan Subrayen, Kyle Abbott, Andile Phehlukwayo, Malusi Siboto, Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Shaun von Berg, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Wihan Lubbe, Marco Jansen
Cape Town Blitz have released England batsman Dawid Malan and have named Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz as their new international marquee player for this year's Mzansi Super League. Quinton de Kock will continue to be the team's local marquee player and the wicketkeeper will be one of the key batsmen for the Blitz. Liam Livingstone has been picked by the franchise this season and he along with Asif Ali, Janneman Malan and de Kock will form the core of the team's batting. In addition to Asif and Malan, the Blitz have retained Dale Steyn and Anrich Nortje. Marques Ackerman, batsman David Bedingham and pace bowler Sisanda Magala are the new recruits.
Cape Town Blitz were very impressive in the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League last year. They won six and lost three out of their nine completed matches to end the league stage as table toppers. The Blitz registered wins in their first four matches and remained at the top of the table despite losing three of their last five completed league fixtures. Having finished as league leaders, they got a direct entry to the final where they lost to Jozi Stars to finish runners-up. Quinton de Kock was the tournament's second-highest run-scorer while Dale Steyn was the team's star performer with the ball.
Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Nawaz, Quinton de Kock, Asif Ali, Aviwe Mgijima, Liam Livingstone, Sisanda Magala, George Linde, Anrich Nortje, Marques Ackerman, Gregory Mahlokwana, Janneman Malan, David Bedingham, Khwezi Gumede
Durban Heat won the wooden spoon last season after finishing at the bottom of the league standings and they will be hoping for a better result this time around. However, their squad seems to be a little light on the batting front and there will be a lot of dependency on Alex Hales and David Miller to score the runs. Cape Town Blitz too appear to have the same issue as Quinton de Kock, Asif Ali and Liam Livingstone will be relied upon heavily with the bat. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants is another team which is looking a bit bowling-heavy this year.
Tshwane Spartans, Paarl Rocks and Jozi Stars are the three teams that we feel will make it past the league round in the MSL 2019. Tshwane Spartans, after a disappointing campaign last time, could finish in the top three as the addition of Heinrich Klaasen and Morne Morkel is set to bolster their batting and bowling departments. Paarl Rocks had a pretty good tournament last year and they have come up with a well-balanced squad this year as well. Jozi Stars are coming into this season as the defending champions. There is plenty of firepower in their batting with the likes of explosive Chris Gayle and consistent Rassie van der Dussen while their bowling too looks strong with Kagiso Rabada and Aaron Phangiso.
The Stars arguably have the best side on paper and we are backing them to defend their title.
Final Verdict: Back Jozi Stars to win the Mzansi Super League 2019.
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