History of SA20 League
The SA20 League is a professional Twenty20 cricket league in South Africa. It was established in 2022 to promote and popularize T20 cricket in the country and provide a platform for both domestic and international players to showcase their skills. The first season culminated in 2023, and the league was called Betway SA20 due to its collaboration with Betway. The Cricket Leagues in South Africa got little recognition as there were more challenges than acceptance to the T20 leagues. South Africa tried to launch cricket leagues earlier but could not do so. The Board tried with the Mzansi Super League in 2018 but could not proceed with it after two seasons.
The CSA created another cricket league named SA20 in 2022 under African Cricket Development (ACD). With a 50% investment in ACD, CSA holds the bulk of the company, followed by broadcaster SuperSport with a 30% stake and former Indian Premier League Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman with a 20% stake. Franchises from the IPL purchased all six of the teams. Graeme Smith was named the tournament’s commissioner in August 2022. The star players for the inaugural season were revealed later in the month. The One Day International series against Australia scheduled to be played in January 2023 was postponed for SA20 to take place, the Cricket South Africa (CSA) stated in July 2022. Here are the team names, along with the owners.
- Durban SuperGiants (Owned by RPSG Group, is also the owner of Lucknow SuperGiants in IPL)
- Joburg Super Kings (Owned by India Cements, who also owns Chennai Super Kings in IPL)
- MI Cape Town (Owned by Indiawin Sports of Ambani Group, who also owns Mumbai Indians)
- Paarl Royals (Owned by Manoj Badale’s Royal Sports Group, who also owned Rajasthan Royals in IPL)
- Pretoria Capitals (Owned by JSW Group who also owns Delhi Capitals team in IPL)
- Sunrisers Eastern Cape (Owned by Sun Group, who also owned Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL)
Winners of the Inaugural Season
SA 20 had only one season so far played in 2023. A total of 33 games were contested between January 10 and February 11 in six locations. Durban SuperGiants, Joburg Super Kings, Sunrisers Eastern Cape, and Pretoria Capitals are the other four international franchises competing in the 20-over showcase event, in addition to MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals. Sunrisers Eastern Cape beat Pretoria Capitals in the final to win the inaugural championship.
- 2023: Sunrisers Eastern Capital
CSA introduced a new set of rules to bring cricket fans to the ground and in front of TV screens. The exciting changes to the SA20’s playing structure were announced before the start of the 20-over competition. Each captain may choose 13 players to take the pitch before the toss to support the game’s inventiveness. Additionally, the captain will select the starting lineup following the toss, with the other two players serving as substitutes. Teams will be urged to bring their “A Game” since, under the new regulations, the winning team will receive four points plus a bonus point, provided they accomplish a run rate that is 1.25 times higher than that of the opposition. In the event of a tie, both teams will receive two points.
There were a few other exciting rules in the league. If a direct hit deflects off the stumps in an intentional attempt to run out the hitter, there will be no further runs. Additionally, a bowled dismissal cannot result in a bye if the ball bounces off the stumps on a free knock. Additionally, if teams have the same number of points at the end, the following rules will apply to who gets to go to the championship game and the playoffs:
- The team with the most victories; in the event of a tie, the team with the most bonus points
- The squad with the highest net run rate, if things remain equal
- The team with the most number of victories over the other team or teams, if they are still tied on points and wins
- The group that, if everything else is equal, has the greatest runs-to-wickets ratio during the competition
- The side with the greatest ratio of wickets to runs during the competition, if it’s still tied.
Challenges and Controversies
Like all other cricket leagues, SA 20 faced issues in the first season. Despite its promising start, the SA20 faced challenges, including scheduling conflicts, financial problems, and difficulties securing broadcasting deals.
1. Conflict with Bilateral Series
The national team suffered a setback in the competition, which occurred earlier in 2023. South Africa had to forfeit a series against Australia, which put them at risk of not qualifying automatically for the Cricket World Cup. As it was, South Africa managed to reserve a spot at the World Cup 2023. Whether they can repeat the same manoeuvre is still to be seen, but in any case, this clearly indicates the international game’s diminishing significance.
The SA20 second round will conflict with South Africa’s series versus New Zealand. The league organizers have made it obvious that players will be forced to play in SA20 rather than against the Black Caps, with a depleted team expected to be sent after the CSA’s plea to postpone the series was denied. It will cause a significant dent in the progress of South African Cricket.
2. Pakistani Players Participation Controversy
SA20 is owned by Indian Owners who also owned teams in the IPL. So, they prevented Pakistani players from being a part of SA20 in the first season. The parties involved are unprepared to accept Pakistani players since they do not wish to cause problems. Furthermore, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not ready to provide its players with three NOCs.
3. Removing Illegal Gamblers from Grounds
Eight illegal gamblers were removed from the ground in the first two weeks of SA20. Three from Bangladesh, three from India, and two from England were ejected from games for engaging in the illegal activity known as “pitch-siding,” which involves providing bookmakers with live match information from inside stadiums without a license. However, anti-corruption officials claim that the number of participants is much higher.
Prize Money and Awards
The winning team got 35 million South African Rand. The runners-up team earned a purse of 17.5 million rand. There were other individual awards whose details are below.
- Spirit of the Season goes to the Sunrisers Eastern Cape team, which gave the team an additional 100,000 rand
- Player of the season Aiden Markram earned R350,000
- Batter of the Season: Jos Buttler earned R200,000
- Roelof van der Merwe became the bowler of the season and earned R200,000
- Rising Star award was given to Eathan Bosch, who also made R100,000
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