Cricket Returns To South Africa & Stuns With New Three-Team Cricket Format

AB de Villiers, Kagiso Rabada, and Quinton de Kock (far right) of the Proteas as the celebrate the wicket of Jonny Bairstow of England during day 5 of the 4th Test match between South Africa and England at SuperSport Stadium on January 26, 2016 in Centurion, South Africa.
Lee Warren / Getty Images

Cricket South Africa stunned sports fans on Wednesday, June 18, when it announced that it would be introducing a new format to the game, per Independent Online. The return of competitive cricket in South Africa will also herald the 3 team cricket format, which will be known as 3TC.

Strict Protocols For The Return Of Cricket In South Africa

On Wednesday evening, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the easing of lockdown restrictions for non-contact sports such as cricket, golf, and tennis, per Business Tech. The country imposed stringent lockdown measures on March 27 due to the coronavirus pandemic and has slowly been easing out of lockdown since May. While India debates the coming cricket season, South Africa is pushing full-steam ahead.

CSA’s chief medical office confirmed that it would be following strict COVID-19 protocols for the Solidarity Cup, which will take place on Saturday, June 27, and that it would use the 3TC format.

“First of all it will be an empty stadium, we’re looking at the minimum number of people being there for the event to happen and be broadcast, which is about 200. The players will get in three days before and be kept in a sanitized eco-system… In the stadium, everyone will wear masks and doors will be kept open along with other safety measures.”

3 Team Cricket Rules

  • Three teams play in one match of 36 overs.
  • Each team comprises eight players.
  • The 36 overs are divided into two halves of 18 overs.
  • Each team has an inning of 12 overs, which is 6 overs per half-game. They face off against one opposing team in the first inning and the other team in the second innings.
  • All teams face each other as each team bowls against the other two teams.
  • An interesting twist to this format is that when the seventh wicket falls, the final batsman becomes the lone scorer and bats for the rest of the innings. Because he is alone on the field, he can only score in multiples of two.
  • However, if that team loses its seventh wicket in the first half of the game, the team forfeits the rest of the innings. The eighth batsman then resumes playing in the second innings.
  • Bowlers may bowl a maximum of three overs.
  • The team that scores the most runs at the end of the game wins the match.

New Teams For A New Format

The three teams competing in the Solidarity Cup are the Eagles (captained by AB de Villiers), the Kingfishers (captained by Kagiso Rabada), and the Kites (captained by Quinton de Kock).

CSA revealed that they chose the teams through a consultative and comprehensive process.

“It’s been interesting to select teams for a new format. You’ve obviously tried to make them as balanced as possible and equally competitive. You want to put the best teams on the field,” Graeme Smith, former SA cricket skipper and director of CSA, said.