Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport


SA20 is rocking — and long may it continue

There was a huge crowd in Centurion on Sunday afternoon to watch the home team, the Pretoria Capitals, take on Paarl Royals.


Later this week an under-strength Proteas Test team will board the plane to New Zealand for a two-match series, the bulk of the first-choice players staying home to play in the second edition of the SA20 competition. Plenty has been said and written about the decision — and everyone will have their own opinions — but from what we have seen in the first few days of the SA20 2024 version is that T20 cricket is without a doubt a huge crowd puller and pleaser and it’s fully understandable why Cricket South Africa opted to go the route they did…

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Later this week an under-strength Proteas Test team will board the plane to New Zealand for a two-match series, the bulk of the first-choice players staying home to play in the second edition of the SA20 competition.

Plenty has been said and written about the decision — and everyone will have their own opinions — but from what we have seen in the first few days of the SA20 2024 version is that T20 cricket is without a doubt a huge crowd puller and pleaser and it’s fully understandable why Cricket South Africa opted to go the route they did with the Test men.

Even Test coach Shukri Conrad, while frustrated he will not have his strongest team in New Zealand, conceded after the drawn series with India recently that the SA20 is now the lifeblood of SA cricket.

Whether we like it or not, it is a fact and the reality: A high-quality T20 competition, with the best local players and a smattering of world-class international stars thrown into the mix, is the money-spinner in cricket now, and that’s the case all over the world, and everyone needs a bit of money in the bank to stay afloat, relevant and competitive.

While many, including myself, love Test cricket and rate it the best format in the game, T20 cricket is quick and exciting, and it brings women and children into the grounds. There will always be a place for the Test game, but as we can see in this second edition of the SA20, it is now the most popular format in the game and there’s no denying it.

Cricket fan at SuperSport Park
The first one-handed clean catch of the season was taken during the game at SuperSport Park on Sunday. Picture: SA20

The organisers of the SA20 must be a relieved and happy bunch, because so far the action on the field has been great and the crowds have been good. Heck, SuperSport Park was sold out on Sunday afternoon and what a sight that was to see! Well done to those fans for showing their support for the competition, the game and the Pretoria Capitals.

It was a far bigger crowd than what we saw on any of the three days of the Test between the Proteas and India around Boxing Day — and the SuperSport Park fans generally turn out in their numbers for any type of cricket in Centurion.

Attracting supporters

Paarl has also had excellent crowds, and I’m sure Durban, Cape Town and Joburg will also pack them in soon. Of course, the catch R2-million campaign helps big-time in bringing the fans in — and why not, what a great initiative it is.

The SA20 league is a rollicking, roaring success, and of course much-needed to keep SA cricket on the map. Here’s to an exciting competition.

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