Friday, December 9, 2022

SA20 League: SA20 Fixtures Announced

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Blockbuster SA20 match schedule released

33 Matches across six venues countrywide

MI Cape Town to host Paarl Royals in opening match on 10 January

Wanderers to host the Grand Final of the inaugural SA20

Tuesday, 8 November: The much-anticipated SA20 blasts off with an exciting Western Cape derby between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals at Newlands Cricket Ground on Tuesday, 10 January. The full match schedule of 33 matches to be played at six venues across the country was announced today, with only two months to go until the start of South Africa’s premier T20 League.

MI Cape Town will look to captivate the Newlands faithful with their star-studded line-up that includes Proteas spearhead Kagiso Rabada, Afghanistan spin maestro Rashid Khan, England’s six-hitting specialist Liam Livingstone, and South Africa’s teenage sensation, Dewald Brevis among others.

The Royals have assembled an equal galaxy of stars that is headlined by England white-ball captain Jos Buttler, along with his Lords’ 2019 World Cup-winning teammates Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan. They will be joined by Proteas trio David Miller, Lungi Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi, who are under the guidance of former Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy as head coach.

The opening game, along with the remaining 32 matches, will all be broadcast exclusively live on SuperSport in Sub-Saharan Africa and Viacom18 Sports to India’s cricket-loving and passionate fanbase.  

“Releasing fixtures for the opening season is a milestone for us all at SA20,” League Commissioner, Graeme Smith said. “It’s all getting very real, we certainly can’t wait to watch the world’s best go head-to-head. Fans can look forward to the blockbuster schedule kicking off with  the popular local derby between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals on 10 January.   

“Fans will be able to watch the best local and international T20 stars live in action at prime viewing times for the afternoon and evening matches.  This is also an ideal broadcasting slot ensuring viewers around the world can also keep up with the enthralling entertainment,” Smith explained.

The action is relentless with the SA20 caravan moving around the country for two weeks,  with at least one game every single day until Thursday, 24 January. Each team will play five home and five away matches, with fans finally getting a taste of what the IPL-owned teams will be bringing to the local flavour.

Among these matches is five visits to St George’s Park where the Sunrisers Eastern Cape and their 12th man, the famous brass band, will ensure every visit to Gqeberha is a memorable one.

The first Highveld derby between the Joburg Super Kings and Pretoria Capitals is set for the Wanderers Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, 17 January. The JSK squad is brimmed with speed merchants Gerald Coetzee, Nandre Burger, West Indian Alzarri Joseph and England’s George Garton who are all set to steam in at the Bullring. The Capitals will be equally up to the challenge, with Proteas speedsters Anrich Nortje and Wayne Parnell leading alongside Ireland’s Josh Little.

Everyone will be able to catch their breath for a week towards the end of January when the League takes a break for the three-match One-Day International Series between the Proteas and England. The action resumes at Kingsmead for the clash between hosts Durban’s Super Giants and MI Cape Town on Thursday, 2 February. 

Lance Klusener’s men will look to make their home-ground advantage count as this will be the first of only two matches played at Kingsmead in the second half of schedule with the remainder of the games all taking place at Wanderers and SuperSport Park in Centurion due to the ICC Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup to be hosted in South Africa in February. 

The grand final will be staged at the Wanderers on Saturday, 11 February, where the first-ever SA20 Champions will be crowned.

“The Wanderers has hosted many memorable finals throughout the years, we expect a full house in attendance to watch the first-ever SA20 Champions lifting the trophy. We are thankful to have the buy-in from all six franchises to make this season a success and we look forward to making this inaugural season of the SA20 something special for the fans!” 

Will the SA20 take place at this window every year

It was important in year one to establish a clear window of mid Jan- mid Feb because all SA contracted players will be available, it is prime South Africa summer and affords the League some exclusivity from other Leagues. The Proteas have a FTP commitment to tour Australia for Test matches and will only be able to return after 8 January.

How were the fixtures designed 

SA20 wanted teams to have five home and five away matches each to maximise fan engagement and brand identity growth.

The fixtures were designed to maximise weekend prime slots with use of double-headers and to minimise weekday matches particularly avoiding double-headers where possible. The League wanted to ensure fairness across teams as much as possible and player well-being factoring in rest, travel and back-to-back matches.

What will happen during the ODI series against England 

There is a mid-season break in the League to accommodate the rescheduled bilateral ODI series between South Africa and England which was postponed due to Covid. The League wanted full SA player availability and also wanted maximise access to the England overseas players. 

How did the ICC Women’s World Cup affect the fixtures

The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup is being played in in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape from 10-26 February 2023. This affected how late the League can end. Given that Gqeberha, Cape Town and Paarl are the venues for this ICC event and are SA20 teams home bases, it meant that their home games needed to be completed by 24 January due to ICC needing to prepare venues.

What was considered when deciding on match starts times

The League took into consideration fans and families when settling on start times of 13h30 for afternoon matches and 17h30 for evening matches. It was important to also accommodate the worldwide TV viewership audience. 

How did you select the Wanderers as the host of the Final

Due to the ICC Women’s World Cup, only three of the venues were available to host the playoff matches.

Why is the Final scheduled on the same day as two ICC Women’s ‘T20 World Cup matches?

For a showcase final we are conscious of player recovery and ensuring that players are rested and can prepare for the final as best as possible. A reserve day for Semi-Final 2 also needed to be allocated for in case of rain hence the gap on Friday 10th.

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