The IPL 2020 auction will take place on December 19, 2019, in Kolkata. The time has come for franchises to identify their requirements, and target players accordingly. Pre-auction strategies go beyond just boardroom meetings, with teams scouting potential targets throughout the year.
South Africa's Mzansi Super League, in particular, is expected to turn a lot of heads since it takes place so close to the auction. The high profile league boasts several talented overseas players who could match the requirements of the IPL franchises.
Based on their form coming into the 2019 MSL, these five players have a good chance of getting an IPL contract if they continue their momentum.
#5 Temba Bavuma
Temba Bavuma has earned a reputation as a brilliant Test batsman, but he is quite skilled in the shortest format of the game as well. Although he’s yet to prove himself on the big stage, Bavuma has shown glimpses of his abilities in recent months.
Bavuma captained the Highveld Lions to a series win in the 2019 CSA T20 Challenge. The right-hander's 63-ball 104 in the finals helped the team post the winning total of 203-4, a performance for which he won the Player of the Match.
Bavuma’s 76 runs in 2 T20Is during South Africa’s tour of India show that he can adapt to Indian conditions as well. A good MSL this time around should ideally see the 29-year-old South African batsman rewarded with an IPL contract.
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#4 Simon Harmer
In this age of leg-spin dominance, it is tough for franchises to find capable off-spinners who could take the game away from the opposition. The teams who are looking for someone of that sort should be monitoring Jozi Stars' Simon Harmer.
As a captain, the 30-year-old was a crucial part of the Essex Eagles, who won the 2019 Vitality Blast. It was the team's maiden title victory and Harmer's astute captaincy was an important part of their success.
Harmer's performances were brilliant throughout the season as he took 17 wickets in 14 matches. In the semi-final and final which happened on the same day, the spinner picked up seven wickets in total and won the Player of the Match awards in both matches.
The off-spinner was in spectacular form in the 2019 County season as well, finishing as the highest wicket-taker with 83 dismissals in 14 matches. Helping the Jozi Stars with similar noteworthy performances would help Harmer to get an IPL contract.
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#3 Rassie van der Dussen
Rassie van der Dussen was the star performer of the previous MSL season's winning team, Jozi Stars. The 30-year-old scored the most runs of the series, with 469 runs from 11 innings at an average of 58.62.
Despite this, he was unable to find a buyer in the 2019 IPL auction. However, things could be different this time around. Van der Dussen carried on his momentum to the 2019 CSA T20 Challenge, where he played a crucial part in the Highveld Lions' title win.
The batsman scored 348 runs from 9 innings and finished as the tournament's leading runscorer. On the final day, the right-hander forged a formidable 165-run third-wicket partnership with Temba Bavuma; Van der Dussen contributed 73 runs off 41 balls.
In August 2019, Van der Dussen won the International Men's newcomer of the year award at Cricket South Africa's annual award ceremony. An outstanding performance at the 2019 MSL could lead to him receiving an IPL opportunity.
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#2 Cameron Delport
Cameron Delport already has IPL experience up his sleeve, but it is hardly noteworthy. The southpaw was a part of KKR for the 2018 IPL, but he didn't get any playing time and was released the following year.
A forgettable IPL stint didn't let Delport disappear from the world of T20 cricket. He made loud noises in the 2019 Vitality Blast as part of the series-winning Essex Eagles. In a match against Surrey, the left-hander scored the highest individual score of the tournament (129).
Moreover, Delport was the leading run-getter for the Essex team, with 409 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 167.62. He was also the second leading six-hitter of the tournament with 24 maximums.
Although the player spent his IPL career on the sidelines and is 30 years of age, he could be a valuable addition to any team due to his expertise in T20 cricket. Delport has played 209 T20 matches and scored 4939 runs.
Delport can even chip in with one or two overs and take some crucial wickets. Impressive performances in the 2019 MSL would strengthen the Paarl Rocks batter's chances of receiving an IPL contract.
#1 Jean-Paul Duminy
JP Duminy is an IPL veteran with 83 matches, and 2029 runs to his name. The proteas all-rounder was one of the best players for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, where he notched 410 and 414 runs, respectively.
Fast forward to 2019, Duminy found no buyer in the IPL auction due to his mediocre performance with the Mumbai Indians in the 2018 season. However, a return to the IPL could be possible for Duminy in 2020.
During the 2019 Global T20 League Canada, the left-handed batsman scored 332 runs in 8 matches - the tournament's high score - for the series-winning Winnipeg Hawks. As a result, he won the Player of the Tournament award.
Duminy was also part of the 2019 CPL title winners Barbados Tridents, for whom he scored a record 15-ball half-century. If Duminy yields similar performances for the Paarl Rocks in the 2019 MSL, his IPL possibilities would further improve.
Although the veteran is 35, his IPL experience and current form increase his chances of grabbing the franchises' attention. Since he has retired from international cricket, his focus would solely be on IPL.