The Mzansi Super League on Tuesday held the second draft of its fledgling existence as South Africa’s premier T20 tournament.
While all of the six franchises retained a significant number of players, there was a distinct sense that some of them pushed the proverbial reset button following iffy inaugural campaigns.
That was particularly the case with the Tshwane Spartans and to a lesser extent the Durban Heat.
Here’s a quick verdict on how the teams recruited.
2018 position: Winners
Coach: Donovan Miller
Squad: Kagiso Rabada (Proteas marquee), Chris Gayle (West Indies, International marquee), Rassie van der Dussen (r), Reeza Hendricks (r), Daniel Christian (Australia, r), Temba Bavuma, Duanne Olivier (r), Simon Harmer, Ryan Rickelton (r), Aaron Phangiso, Lizaad Williams, Sinethemba Qeshile (r), Nono Pongolo, Eathan Bosch, Delano Potgieter.
Strength: A power-packed, experienced batting line-up is supplemented with the acquisition of the canny Temba Bavuma, who will certainly provide class and versatility. They’ll be banking on Aussie all-rounder Dan Christian to fire again.
Weakness: Duanne Olivier will need to fire again as the kingpin of the attack, because might not quite have the support he desires.
CAPE TOWN BLITZ
2018 position: Runners-up
Coach: Ashwell Prince
Squad: Quinton de Kock (Proteas marquee), Wahab Riaz (Pakistan, International marquee), Liam Livingstone (England), Dale Steyn (r), Sisanda Magala, Anrich Nortje (r), Asif Ali (Pakistan, r), Mohammad Nawaz (Pakistan), Janneman Malan (r), George Linde, David Bedingham, Vernon Philander, Marques Ackerman, Gregory Mahlokoana, Aviwe Mgijima.
Strength: They’ve cushioned two injury-prone quicks in Dale Steyn and Anrich Nortje with the eye-catching signing of Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz together with the wiles of Vernon Philander.
Weakness: Too much of the batting relies on Quinton de Kock’s star power and the promising Janneman Malan can’t afford to experience the dreaded second-season syndrome.
2018 position: 3rd
Coach: Adi Birrell
Squad: Faf du Plessis (Proteas marquee), Isuru Udana (Sri Lanka, International marquee), JP Duminy, Tabraiz Shamsi (r), Hardus Viljoen, Aiden Markram (r), Bjorn Fortuin (r), James Vince (England), Dwaine Pretorius, Cameron Delport (r), Sibonelo Makhanya, Henry Davids (r), Mangaliso Mosehle (r), Ferisco Adams, Kerwin Mungroo.
Strengths: An envious band of stroke-makers who’ll make a lot of runs if they all fire. Englishman James Vince is a classy addition.
Weaknesses: The attack lacks star-power, even if Hardus Viljoen seems a shrewd buy.
NELSON MANDELA BAY GIANTS
2018 position: 4th
Coach: Eric Simons
Squad: Imran Tahir (Proteas marquee), Jason Roy (England, International marquee), Chris Morris (r), Jon-Jon Smuts (r), Junior Dala (r), Farhaan Behardien, Beuran Hendricks, Matthew Breetzke, Onke Nyaku, Ben Dunk (Australia), Heino Kuhn (r), Marco Marais (r), Grant Thomson, Akhona Mnyaka, Nandre Burger.
Strength: A well-balanced group on paper, combining a versatile and skilled batting line-up with a nice battery of seamers.
Weakness: This team lacks a second, quality frontline spinner.
2018 position: 5th
Coach: Mark Boucher
Squad: AB de Villiers (Proteas marquee), Tom Curran (England, International marquee), Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi (r), Heinrich Klaasen, Theunis de Bruyn (r), Roelof van der Merwe, Lutho Sipamla (r), Pite van Biljon, Tony de Zorzi (r), Waqar Salamkheil (Afghanistan), Dean Elgar, Wiaan Mulder, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corbin Bosch.
Strengths: The Titans spine of the squad means a spirit of excellence will flow through the players. Tom Curran adds great balance as a bowling all-rounder.
Weakness: Too much of their bowling strategy once again relies on Lungi Ngidi. What if he’s injured again?
2018 position: 6th
Coach: Gary Kirsten
Squad: Andile Phehlukwayo (Proteas marquee), Alex Hales (England, International marquee), David Miller (r), Dane Vilas, Ravi Bopara (England), Keshav Maharaj (r), Kyle Abbott (r), Khaya Zondo (r), Marco Jansen, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee (r), Malusi Siboto, Prenelan Subrayen, Wihan Lubbe, Shaun von Berg.
Strengths: Kirsten’s mentoring is obviously priceless, while Kingsmead could easily prepare some spicy turners for a very accomplished group of spinners.
Weakness: A fragile middle- and lower order that might lack some punch.