Mzansi Super League to grow to eight teams

Tournament currently comprises six sides

AB de Villiers batting for South Africa

The third edition of the Mzansi Super League will reportedly feature eight teams. The first and second editions of South Africa's premier T20 tournament comprised six teams.

According to ESPNcricinfo, an East London and Bloemfontein franchise will join the Durban Heat, Paarl Rocks, Cape Town Blitz, Tshwane Spartans, Jozi Stars and Nelson Mandela Bay Giant in the competition.

The 2018 and 2019 MSLs were broadcast by the free-to-air South African Broadcasting Corporation. Cricket South Africa are reportedly in discussion with paid channel SuperSport to broadcast the MSL.

The tournament is usually played in the last two months of the year, but might be moved to March amid preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bloemfontein were going to host a franchise for the Global T20 League. The Bloem City Blazers were due to play alongside the Cape Town Knight Riders, Stellenbosch Kings and others, but the franchises and tournament were aborted. The Global T20 League eventually launched as the MSL.

Bloemfontein is a landlocked city, while East London is on the coast. Bloemfontein and East London's main cricket grounds are the Mangaung Oval and Buffalo Park, respectively.

MSL history

The Paarl Rocks are the most successful franchise in the brief history of the MSL. They finished in third position on the points table in 2018 – and beat the Tshwane Spartans in the 2019 final.

The Jozi Stars won the inaugural tournament in 2018, after beating the Cape Town Blitz in the final. West Indian batsman Chris Gayle played for the Stars in 2018 and 2019. The franchise also had Australian all-rounder Dan Christian.

The Durban Heat are coached by former South Africa batsman Gary Kirsten, who was going to work with the Welsh Fire in the inaugural edition of the Hundred this year. The England and Wales Cricket Board's new limited-overs tournament, though, has been postponed to 2021. The Heat also had England batsman Alex Hales, who hasn't played international cricket for a lengthy period after being found guilty of recreational drug use.

“In terms of what that looks like, practically, it's human nature, it's about developing trust. I don't think you can put a time limit on gaining back that trust, and that's not just with me, that's with every member of the squad, the backroom staff, the selectors,” said England captain Eoin Morgan of Hales recently.

“And that does take time. We're in May, so it's 11 months ago that the incident happened with Alex, so it's actually not that long ago that it happened.”

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