The Indian Premier League (IPL) in its early days had several high-profile international stars but there was one thing that separated it from the rest – the large talent pool. Whilst it was more than possible given the width and span of the country, South Africa would hope that the inaugural edition of their domestic T20 league – SA20 – could pan out the same way.
Some might consider Dewald Brevis, Tristan Stubbs and Corbin Bosch as some of the top talents to look out for, there are several players who can sweep right under the radar. We list such players for every franchise, who could spring a surprise or two in the first edition of the competition.
Pretoria Capitals – Eathan Bosch
The 24-year-old Eathan Bosch might already be a known commodity to a few but for the larger world, he is an unknown. Quite tall, the right-arm pacer has played 25 T20s heading into the opener of the SA20 with staggering numbers. With the ball, Bosch has picked up 30 wickets, averaging just 20.33 thus far in his limited career, and also has the ability to keep a tight lid on the run-rate, with an economy of 6.93.
Not just that, Bosch is equally athletic, especially in his own follow-up with quite a good stretch. Whilst his batting is still a work-in-progress, the right-hander definitely has shown some long levers in the past to get the ball racing away to the boundary. His career strike-rate isn’t the most pleasing of ones (110.28) but there is still room for improvement, considering that he has already got two T20 fifties.
Watch out for the 24-year-old when Pretoria Capitals take the field.
MI Cape Town – Wesley Marshall
“I think there's a lot of young players that have come through in the last few years and I think of the very first up in my list Dewald Brevis. I'm looking forward to watching him play and a few other youngsters that have performed really well,” when someone of AB de Villiers calibre says that, it only means that it is true.
MI Cape Town have a star-studded unit. But given that Dewald Brevis has already played in the IPL, he has already been considered a top-talent. We have looked at one other player that could be a surprise package.
There’s Wesley Marshall, one who fits the MI profile so well. The opening batter has over time built a reputation of being a dasher, with a career strike-rate of 147.12 in the shortest format.
Marshall has the second-best strike-rate in the powerplay for an opener in the domestic competition, striking at 181.8 whilst putting away boundaries every 3.7 deliveries. The only question for MI Cape Town is, where would they feature him? Will he open alongside Rickleton?
Joburg Super Kings – Donovan Ferreira
Joburg Super Kings have a pretty well-balanced unit with some stalwarts of South African domestic cricket but there is more to the squad than just that. Nandre Burger, Caleb Saleka and Donovan Ferreira are some names that would be the envy of any franchise, and JSK have been accurate with their scouting to get them on board.
Saleka is a rising leg-spinner in the country, with 19 wickets already in as many appearances. He has a steady action and the skiddy nature of his deliveries often tangoes with the batters. But with JSK playing at the Wanderers, a haven for the pacers, it would be smart to look elsewhere, in the form of Ferreira.
Ferriera has already made the headlines multiple times, but his attacking prowess is still there for the world to see. The right-hander packs quite a punch with the bat, with a career strike-rate of 153, while still averaging over 40 with the bat. The right-hander was also the sixth highest run-scorer at the provincial T20 cup for the 2021-22 edition. One to look out for.
Durban’s Supergiants – Prenelan Subrayen
Prenelan Subrayen was a steal for the Supergiants. Not only is the 29-year-old an able spinner but also possesses quite a meat with the bat. He was the best spinner in the T20 Challenge for the Dolphins while captaining them. While not a youngster, the all-rounder is relatively unknown to the masses outside South Africa.
The all-rounder has played 88 T20s, with a bowling average of 22.59, in conditions that don’t always favour spinners. Not just that, he has quite a proven wicket-taking record, striking every 21 deliveries. His batting has always been on the rise but the right-hander showed a glimpse of his growing batting ability in the T20 Challenge, where he struck at 169 batting down the order.
Paarl Royals – Corbin Bosch
Corbin Bosch is a pretty well-known name to fans outside South Africa at this point, and there were even calls to include the all-rounder in the national team setup over the last year or so. The 28-year-old is perhaps the next big thing in the South African cricketing circuit, and could even find a place for himself in the upcoming year or two.
So, what makes him special? If the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) showed us a glimpse into Bosch’s batting abilities, he will be a monstrous talent for the Royals this season. In the clash against St Lucia Kings, the all-rounder representing Barbados Royals smacked a 50-ball 81, a knock where he showed no mercy to the bowlers. While his brother features on this list too, all eyes would be on Corbin, who is due for a comprehensive performance in a competition.
Sunrisers Eastern Cape – Ottniel Baartman
Jordan Hermann is possibly the most exciting of talents to watch out for in the Sunrisers Eastern Cape set up. He is a batter, and quite raw at the moment. With a career T20 average of 46.50 and a strike-rate of 116.25. But given he’s a left-hander, and there is a long way for the 21-year-old to go, there are chances of him developing into a world-class performer.
But Sunrisers Eastern Cape struck gold when they got Ottniel Baartman. He isn’t a youngster, but he is relatively unknown to the masses just like the others on this list. But what separates Baartman from the others is his knowledge of the game, and his relentless ability to nail the yorker.
While there are high chances that Baartman might not feature in the playing XI, his ability with the ball will definitely come into play as the tournament progresses. In 44 T20s, Baartman has picked up 56 wickets with a staggering average of 17.50, and an economy of 6.44. Baartman is also the highest wicket-taker at the death in South Africa’s domestic competitions, since 2021, with an average of 10.7.
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