Mzansi Super League

Boucher excited to get Spartans campaign underway

2018-11-15 15:50
Mark Boucher
Mark Boucher (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa will join the world of T20 leagues when the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League kicks off in Cape Town on Friday.

The first match between Cape Town Blitz and the Tshwane Spartans will mark a special moment in the history of Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the two teams will hope to mark the occasion with a nail-biting contest in front of what is expected to be a capacity crowd at Newlands.

The country is one of the last from the big global players to launch a city-based franchise competition, but in line with the famous English phrase, 'Save the best for Last', CSA is confident of hitting the ground running.

Added to the flavour is that all the matches will be broadcast exclusively live by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on its free-to-air television and radio platforms, with global coverage to come via Global Sports Commerce (GSC), whom CSA have brought in as international commercial and broadcast partner from 2018 to 2022.

GSC have formed a partnership with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) for the first ever season of the MSL T20 in India & the sub-continent.

As for the opening match, it brings together two of the traditional regional rivals in Cape Town and Pretoria.

But this is a new competition and just finding some sort of rhythm is more important than any old rivalry for Blitz coach Ashwell Prince.

"There's no rivalry at all," he said. "This is the first game of a new competition, so everyone is in the same boat. We all have a lot of new players, players from other parts of the country, players from overseas.

"Everyone will also be looking to settle down as quickly as possible and I think that will be key, whoever can do it the quickest, they'll be the team with the advantage."

Prince admits he is also excited by the competition and is looking forward to getting going.

"There's lots of excitement, obviously a new competition, so everyone, including me, is looking forward to it," he added. "I think we already had a good standard T20 competition, but now with overseas players and being a relaunched competition, just adds to the quality of the brand."

Meanwhile, Spartans captain AB de Villiers is also anticipating an interesting opening encounter in the Mother City.

The former Proteas skipper will lead Mark Boucher's Tshwane-coached side and envisages a big future for the tournament.

"I think it will be a great game and I am looking forward to it," he said. "The quality of cricket in the Mzansi Super League is going to be good.

"It's very exciting, I am very happy to finally be part of the tournament that I believe will help South African cricket development and give youngsters incredible exposure to play with some of the world superstars."

Proteas quartet Quinton de Kock, Blitz captain Farhaan Behardien, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dale Steyn are all unavailable for the Blitz ahead of the opening game due to international commitments.

The Spartans will be without their national star Lungi Ngidi, while Zimbabwean duo Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza are also away with their country.

Play is set to get underway at 19:00.


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