Cricket is set to resume in South Africa on 27 June as the country's board (CSA) on Wednesday announced the launch of an innovative competition titled '3TCricket', where three teams will play in a single match at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
According to a Cricket South Africa statement, the three teams will compete for the inaugural Solidarity Cup. It will be the first live sporting event organised in the country since the coronavirus-forced lockdown in March.
As per the new format, 24 of South Africa's top cricketers will feature in three teams playing two halves in one match.
The teams are the Eagles, to be captained by AB de Villiers, Kingfishers, to be led by Kagiso Rabada and the Kites, which will have Quinton de Kock as captain.
CSA Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith believes that this new format will bring back the excitement to the game.
"It's been quite some time since the South African public and fans of cricket worldwide have been able to consume the game we all love. I know that the players are itching to get back into action as well, which is why we as CSA are so excited about the Solidarity Cup," he said.
"It's a thrilling new format and a match that is working towards a greater good. We are proud to partner with 3TeamCricket on this project," said the former South Africa skipper.
The 3TeamCricket also aims to raise money for The Hardship Fund by using its platform of passionate cricket supporters.
The match will have 36 overs in two halves of 18 overs each. Each team will bat for one innings of 12 overs, split into two 6-over periods. Each 6-over period will be bowled by a different opponent.
The starting positions will be determined by a draw. The teams rotate from batting to bowling/dugout in the first half.
In the second half, the teams bat in order of highest score in the first half.
In case a team loses seven wickets, the last batsman can bat alone but he can score only an even number of runs.
The team with most runs bags the gold, while the next two sides win silver and bronze respectively.
Eagles skipper De Villiers believes that 3TCricket will be an incredible spectacle for the fans starved of action.
"It's a great idea and credit must go to Cricket South Africa and Rain for working to develop this new and innovative style of cricket. There are very few team sports in the world where you get to play more than one opponent in a single fixture, this is going to be a game changer. We have some very talented cricketers involved who are really excited to return to play with a bang," he said.
Kites captain, Quinton de Kock expressed his excitement at the prospect of beating two teams at once in the 3TCricket model.
"I'm really excited to be captaining the Kites, we have a great team and I think we can claim the gold. I'm even more excited about the new format, it's going to be a lot of fun playing to beat KG and AB on the same day," De Kock said.
The event will also witness the comeback of Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, the captain of Kingfishers.
He was sidelined from cricket since February due to a groin injury.
"It's been a long wait to get back into action and I'm looking forward to playing again alongside some of the country's biggest names. We have a good balance of talent and experience in our team and I'm confident that we can walk away with the inaugural Solidarity Cup," he said.
Kingfishers: Kagiso Rabada (c), Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, Heinrich Klaasen, Glenton Stuurman.
Kites: Quinton de Kock (c), David Miller, Temba Bavuma, Anrich Nortje, Dwayne Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, JJ Smuts, Lutho Sipamla.
Eagles: AB de Villiers (c), Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Andile, Phehlukwayo, Rassie van der Dussen, Junior Dala, Kyle Verreynne, Sisanda Magala.
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