CAPE TOWN – Meetings went on until 3am as the management teams of the six Mzansi Super League outfits tried to identify the best possible targets in each round of the player draft.
And before they knew it, it was all over at Montecasino on Wednesday, with 16 players each at the Cape Town Blitz, Paarl Rocks, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Durban Heat, Jozi Stars and Tshwane Spartans.
While six top SA players – Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada and AB de Villiers – were allocated on Tuesday, the real fun took place on Wednesday in Johannesburg.
The Durban Heat got the ball rolling and went for what could be a really shrewd choice in the bigger scheme of things, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, who is No 1 on the T20 rankings.
Khan could be a real handful towards the end of the competition, when pitches may be more conducive to spin, as he won’t be available for a part of the competition – like the other international marquee players, who are all involved in the T10 League in the UAE from November 23 to December 2.
With the MSL starting on November 16 and finishing on December 16, the internationals may only play at the start and business end of the competition.
So, looking at the six squads, the Durban Heat look like the best balanced for T20 cricket. There are a number of big-hitters such as David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Albie Morkel and Morné van Wyk, along with stylish batsmen like Hashim Amla, Khaya Zondo and Temba Bavuma.
A strong bowling attack is led by Proteas Test star Vernon Philander, and complemented by Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj, Morkel, Marchant de Lange and impressive Zimbabwean spinner Brandon Mavuta, who bowled well against the Proteas recently.
But have a look at the respective squads, and let us know who your favourites are…
1. Cape Town Blitz
Home ground: Newlands
Coach: Ashwell Prince
Marquee Protea: Quinton de Kock
Marquee international: Dawid Malan
Squad: Quinton de Kock, Dawid Malan (England), Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Samuel Badree (Windies), Asif Ali (Pakistan), Farhaan Behardien, Anrich Nortjé, Janneman Malan, Malusi Siboto, George Linde, Ferisco Adams, Jason Smith, Sibonelo Makhanya, Kyle Verreynne (rookie), Dane Piedt
2. Durban Heat
Home ground: Kingsmead
Coach: Grant Morgan
Marquee Protea: Hashim Amla
Marquee international: Rashid Khan
Squad: Hashim Amla, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Kyle Abbott (kolpak), Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Albie Morkel, Marchant de Lange (kolpak), Vernon Philander, Brandon Mavuta (Zimbabwe), Temba Bavuma, Morné van Wyk, Okuhle Cele (rookie), Sarel Erwee, Tladi Bokako
3. Jozi Stars
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: Kagiso Rabada, Chris Gayle (Windies), Dane Vilas (kolpak), Rassie van der Dussen, Daniel Christian (Australia), Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius, Eddie Leie, Pite van Biljon, Duanne Olivier, Ryan Rickelton, Sinethemba Qeshile (rookie), Simon Harmer (kolpak), Calvin Savage, Alfred Mothoa
4. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Home ground: St. George’s Park
Coach: Eric Simons
Marquee Protea: Imran Tahir
Marquee international: Jason Roy
Squad: Imran Tahir, Jason Roy (England), Chris Morris, Jon-Jon Smuts, Junior Dala, Christiaan Jonker, Aaron Phangiso, Ben Duckett (England), Sisanda Magala, Ryan McLaren, Heino Kuhn, Marco Marais, Dyllan Matthews (rookie), Lizaad Williams, Rudi Second, Carmi le Roux
5. Paarl Rocks
Home ground: Boland Park
Coach: Adrian Birrell
Marquee Protea: Faf du Plessis
Marquee international: Dwayne Bravo
Squad: Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo (Windies), Tabraiz Shamsi, Dane Paterson, Aiden Markram, Mangaliso Mosehle, Bjorn Fortuin, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Grant Thomson, Paul Stirling (Ireland), Tshepo Moreki, Henry Davids, Cameron Delport (kolpak), Eathan Bosch (rookie), Patrick Kruger, Kerwin Mungroo
6. Tshwane Spartans
Home ground: Centurion
Coach: Mark Boucher
Marquee Protea: AB de Villiers
Marquee international: Eoin Morgan
Squad: AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan (England), Lungi Ngidi, Robbie Frylinck, Jeewan Mendis (Sri Lanka), Theunis de Bruyn, Rory Kleinveldt, Sean Williams (Zimbabwe), Gihahn Cloete, Lutho Sipamla (rookie), Tony de Zorzi (rookie), Dean Elgar, Andrew Birch, Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe), Shaun von Berg, Eldred Hawken