The CSA T20 Challenge will run from the 7th to the 27th of February in Gqeberha’s St George’s Park Cricket Stadium. Unlike last year’s edition, Division 2 teams will not form part of this tournament and the majority of Proteas white-ball players will be available as they look to prepare for the T20 World Cup taking place in Australia later this year.
Let’s take a look at who will potentially be worth every cent of your money in this tournament:
Given that Jon-Jon has not played any Division One cricket this season, there is no doubt he is raring to go. There is no doubt he has a point to prove. As former Warriors captain for many years, Smuts will have a huge role to play in the team as a senior player and also with the bat at the top of the order. He has three hundreds to his name in T20 cricket and a strike rate of 126.33 over a 158-match career so far. He will definitely be a contender for the top run-scorer in the competition.
The T20 World Cup is right around the corner and there is a spot wide open in the national team. Malan will know for sure that his going in this competition will potentially earn him an opportunity to bat alongside De Kock in the Proteas’ T20 team. The young master-blaster has a top score of 128* and a strike-rate of 134.98 in T20 cricket.
Heino approaches T20 cricket in a very different way considering how other batters go about T20 cricket. He is not necessarily a big hitter, but his strike rotation is effective and will be crucial given that the tournament is in Gqeberha where the ball doesn’t travel miles like it usually does in the highveld. Kuhn has 2471 T20 runs in 135 games at a strike-rate of 126.2.
Phehlukwayo is one of the Proteas players who will turn up for their provincial teams in this tournament; he and David Miller add a much-needed muscle and experience to the young Dolphins side. Phehlukwayo has 82 wickets and 576 runs in his career so far. He is a very talented player that I believe we will see the best of in this competition.
Western province Blitz signed Dane Vilas for the T20 competition to boost what was an average team, to say the least. Vilas’ experience and ability with the bat make him a great addition to the Blitz side. Vilas has 3328 runs in 185 matches at a strike-rate of 126.92.
Quinton de Kock
At 29-years-old, De Kock has 7113 runs in 237 T20 matches at a strike-rate of 137.82 with 4 hundreds and 44 fifties to his name. His numbers speak for himself and should convince any punter to look into him before placing bets.
Miller will play his first provincial match this season after retiring from First-Class cricket in 2018 to focus on white-ball cricket. He is a decorated T20 cricketer with over 7000 runs in 300-plus matches for various teams around the world. This is a huge opportunity for him to sharpen his blade and get in the best possible form ahead of the World Cup.
Shamsi held the number one T20 bowler in the world spot for the majority of 2021 with his incredible performances with the ball for both Proteas and domestic teams including IPL. With 195 wickets in his career so far at an economy rate of 7.16, he is a lethal spinner and is hard to read for batters.
23-year-old opening batter, Breetzke, makes it to my Top 10 players to watch list because of his returns at last year’s T20 Knockout Competition. The youngster has been in fine form across all formats this season and I predict he will be a handful for bowlers in this tournament. He has 7 half-centuries in his 30 T20 matches and has a highest score of 80.
Magala is arguably the best T20 fast bowler in domestic cricket at the moment. He has incredible skills that make him very effective at the death and even with the new ball. With spots in the Proteas T20 team up for grabs, I predict he will be one of the best players in this tournament. Magala has 117 wickets in 108 matches at an average of 23.41 and an
Honourable Mentions (10 players):
Pite van Biljon
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