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…
Mzansi Super League Squads
Cape Town Blitz: 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.
Durban Heat: 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.
Jozi Stars: 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.
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants: 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.
Paarl Rocks: 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.
Very excited to be heading back to such a wonder place in South Africa,Paarl.Can’t wait to put on the @Paarl_Rocks jersey and get started with this talented squad🙌 #PaarlRocks #MSLT20 #MSLT20Draft https://t.co/fWBAnIapEM
Tshwane Spartans: 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.