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Betway SA20 preview: Batting stars could power Paarl to title

08 Jan | BY Enda McElhinney | MIN READ TIME |
Betway SA20 preview: Batting stars could power Paarl to title

Enda McElhinney offers his best bets for the second edition of the South African T20 competition, including an outright winner and tips for top batter wicket taker.

The second edition of the Betway SA20 starts on Wednesday when defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape take on Joburg Super Kings in Gqeberha.

The exciting South African T20 competition features six teams and a host of international stars including England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler, who was the leading runscorer in the inaugural season.

Buttler will again be lining up for Paarl Royals while West Indian veteran Kieron Pollard has replaced the injured Rashid Khan as captain of MI Cape Town. 

Selections

Paarl Royals @ 5/1
Heinrich Klaasen to be Durban’s Super Giants Top Batter @ 33/10
Adil Rashid to be Pretoria Capitals Top Wicket Taker @ 4/1

Royals ready to rumble in second season

The betting suggests there is little to choose between the six Betway SA20 franchises in 2024 and the 5/1 about Paarl Royals claiming the title looks well worth an interest.

The Royals reached the semi-finals last season, losing to table-topping Pretoria Capitals, but a powerful batting unit featuring Jos Buttler and skipper David Miller gives them a great chance of success.

South Africa middle-order man Miller is one of the best T20 finishers in the game and if Jason Roy fires alongside Buttler at the top of the order then Paarl’s opponents could be in serious trouble.

Spin played a key role in the inaugural SA20, when Sunrisers veteran Roelof van de Merwe was the joint-leading bowler, and the Royals are strong in that department.

Tabraiz Shamsi topped the ICC’s T20 bowling rankings in 2021 while fellow spinner Bjorn Fortuin took 14 wickets last season with an economy rate of just 6.45 runs per over and Lungi Ngidi, Evan Jones and England youngster John Turner are potential matchwinners in the pace attack.   

Clean-hitting Klaasen can stand tall for Super Giants

Durban’s Super Giants missed out on the SA20 play-offs last season despite some brilliant batting from South Africa international Heinrich Klaasen.

The powerful right-hander is one of the most destructive middle-order batsmen in world cricket and he racked up 363 runs from just 221 balls in the 2023 tournament.

That tally included three half-centuries as well as a scintillating unbeaten 104 from just 44 deliveries against Pretoria Capitals in Centurion.

Klaasen also had an excellent Indian Premier League campaign in 2023, scoring 448 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad at a strike-rate of 177 per 100 balls, and he can outshine favourite Quinton de Kock in the Super Giants Top Batter market.

Ace England leg-spinner should shine in SA20

England’s Adil Rashid is ranked the world’s best T20 international bowler by the ICC and the experienced leg-spinner looks set for another memorable SA20 campaign for Pretoria Capitals.

Rashid will celebrate his 36th birthday just a week after next month’s final but his powers show no sign of waning and he remains a huge threat to batsmen in international cricket and T20 franchise leagues. 

He was excellent in the SA20 last term, claiming 14 wickets in ten appearances for the runners-up, and he bowled beautifully in England’s T20 series in the West Indies last month, taking nine wickets in 20 overs and conceding just 6.2 runs per over.

Pretoria paceman Anrich Nortje was joint-top of the SA20 bowling chart last season but his workload will have to be carefully managed after a recent back injury so Rashid should be backed to lead the way for the Capitals.

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