The inaugural season of SA20, South Africa’s flagship franchise T20 league, will begin on Tuesday at Newlands in Cape Town. The tournament will comprise six teams and will feature some of the biggest global T20 superstars. The tournament comes on the heels of the IPL 2023 auction, where franchises broke the bank on top T20 specialists, and will serve as a platform for players to prove their mettle and justify their price tags.
Here are the top five IPL 2023 auction picks who will feature in the SA20:
SAM CURRAN (MI CAPE TOWN)
The English all-rounder was bought for a record sum of INR 18.5 crore by Punjab Kings in the IPL 2023 auction, becoming the most expensive player in the history of the tournament. In the SA20, Sam Curran will feature for MI Cape Town and will have the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Jofra Archer and Olly Stone to support him in the pace department.
Curran was named ICC Player of the Tournament in England’s victorious T20 World Cup campaign. He picked three for 12 in the final against Pakistan and also bagged the Player of the Match award. The 24-year-old was England’s top wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup, scalping 13 in just six matches at an economy rate of 6.52. He was a force to reckon with in the PowerPlay and death overs and while his ability with the bat wasn’t tested in the tournament, Curran boasts of a strike rate of over 135 in T20 cricket.
HARRY BROOK (JOBURG SUPER KINGS)
Another Englishman who fetched big money in the IPL 2023 auction was flamboyant batter Harry Brook. He was roped in for INR 13.25 crore by Sunrisers Hyderabad. Brook will hope to repay the faith when he turns out for Joburg Super Kings, which is led by stylish batter Faf du Plessis. Interestingly, Brook has yet to find his feet in white-ball international cricket and it was his stellar run in the Test series against Pakistan that turned heads. He emerged as the top run-getter in the series, scoring 468 runs in three matches at an astounding strike rate of 93.41 in the middle-order.
JOSHUA LITTLE (PRETORIA CAPITALS)
The left-arm pacer became the first player from Ireland to be picked in the IPL auction when defending champion Gujarat Titans acquired him for INR 4.4 crore. Joshua Little impressed in the T20 World Cup in Australia when he rattled New Zealand with a hat-trick - which included the wickets of Kane Williamson, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner. He ended the tournament with 11 wickets at a creditable economy rate of 7.00. In the SA20, Little will have Anrich Nortje and captain Wayne Parnell for company in the pace battery of Pretoria Capitals.
JASON HOLDER (DURBAN SUPER GIANTS)
The seasoned all-rounder from West Indies, Jason Holder will ply his trade for Durban Super Giants, which is stacked with all-rounders including compatriots Kyle Mayers and Keemo Paul. Holder was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the IPL 2023 auction and was signed by Rajasthan Royals for INR 5.75 crore in December. The former West Indies captain is economical with the ball in the PowerPlay and middle overs and while he is a reliable bat, his prowess with the willow hasn’t really been used to potential yet.
RILEE ROSSOUW (PRETORIA CAPITALS)
The South African batter made a return to international cricket after more than six years in 2022 and struck an unbeaten 55-ball 96 against England in just his second innings post the comeback. Rilee Rossouw followed it up with another unbeaten century, off 48 balls, against India and struck 109 off 56 balls against Bangladesh in South Africa’s T20 World Cup campaign opener. While the left-hander is coming off a lean patch in the ongoing Big Bash League - where has has just one fifty in seven innings - he will hope to be back at his explosive best for Pretoria Capitals, which is bolstered by Will Jacks, Phil Salt and Kusal Mendis in the batting department.