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Pro20 Series launched in South Africa

The South African cricket board is launching its own version of the Twenty 20 Cricket Cup which took England by storm last year.

Cricket South Africa is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new domestic limited-over competition. The competition, to be played between the six new professional franchise teams in April, will be known as the Standard Bank Pro20 Series and will be played on a 20 overs per innings basis.

This new generation cricket product will bring an extra dimension to the modern game, with each fast and furious action-packed match lasting little more than three hours. The Standard Bank Pro20 Series is bound to transform the game of cricket as profoundly as the one-day format did more than three decades ago.

There will be 18 matches in the Standard Bank Pro20 Series, played over a three-week period, with the six professional franchise teams playing each other once in a round robin format where after the top four teams on the log meet in the semi-finals. The series will also give spectators an opportunity to see the national squad members in action as they will be representing their respective franchises.

Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola said the new event will give the game a massive boost on the domestic front: "The Standard Bank Pro20 Series is going to launch a new era for domestic professional cricket in South Africa. From next season, our domestic professional cricket competitions, the Standard Bank Cup and the SuperSport Series, will be contested by six franchise teams," said Mr Majola. "The main reason for the change is to introduce Strength vs Strength competitions, which will make for even better cricket and even better cricketers.

Together with our partners Standard Bank and SuperSport, we have pulled out all the stops to make a huge success of the Standard Pro20 Series. We have even cancelled our national's team's traditional participation in the Dubai international triangular to make sure that all our super stars will be on show.

"Standard Bank Pro20 Series is an exciting format, with matches being played over 20 overs a side, everybody on the park has to go hell for leather from start to finish to win the game. We believe that the public is going to love it, and an exhilarating stage will be set for the new season and a new era of cricket," said Mr Majola. Cricket South Africa is also delighted to welcome its loyal limited-overs cricket sponsor Standard Bank as well as broadcast partner SuperSport in this exciting new venture.

Standard Bank has been involved with limited-overs cricket in South Africa for seven years and the Standard Bank Pro20 Series is in keeping with the excitement that their sponsorship has brought to the public through the highly successful Standard Bank domestic and international series. Standard Bank's Director Group Sponsorships Khanyi Mlambo said: "Standard Bank is delighted to sponsor the Standard Bank Pro20 Series. This new and exciting competition will add another dimension to One-Day domestic cricket in South Africa. It is a valuable extension of our long-standing One-Day cricket sponsorship portfolio. This new, fast and furious format will appeal to a wider spectrum of sports lovers.

"The Standard Bank Pro20 Series promises to deliver the best mix of powerful musical experiences, social interaction, vibrant personalities, striking visual identity and riveting action packed cricket! The essence of a new phenomenon known as "Sportainment", said Ms Mlambo. South African Captain, Graeme Smith, currently on tour in New Zealand said;" The Standard Bank Pro20 Series is something the players have been looking forward to for a long time. The format is one that has worked well in the past. If we thought One-Day cricket was hectic and exciting, this is going to take the game to a new level, and I think you are going to see some serious hitting and fielding, and the bowlers are going to be challenged to the fullest to keep things tight. I can't wait to play !"

Twelve of the eighteen Standard Bank Pro20 Series matches will be broadcast on pay channel SuperSport. SuperSport's Director of Enterprises and Production, Imtiaz Patel, is pleased to be part of the exciting venture: "SuperSport is proud to be a partner in this pioneering feature of South African cricket. It is exciting, new and innovative - a positive movement forward with the changing times. We have no doubt that it will be a huge success!"

The action gets underway on Wednesday 7th April at Newlands with a clash between the Nashua Western Province Boland team and the Nashua Dolphins. Over the following three and a half weeks South Africa's finest cricketers will thrill and excite cricket lovers around the country as limited overs cricket is elevated to a new level on the entertainment scene.


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