The global landscape of T20 cricket has become increasingly populated over the last decade, with South Africa's Mzansi Super League (MSL) representing a new addition to this growing ecosystem. Having completed two seasons in 2018 and 2019, we thought it would be useful to highlight certain statistical trends within the league by comparing these to some of the other global T20 showpieces.
A recent article by Freddie Wilde of CricViz conducted a statistical comparison of the six most established global T20 leagues around the world, namely the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, the T20 Blast in England, and the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). By drawing on this analysis we can position the emerging Mzansi Super League (MSL) in a global statistical context. We consider the MSL's overall scoring rate, six hitting and spin usage compared to its global counterparts (please note that data for global leagues are quoted from Freddie Wilde's article linked above).
In terms of overall scoring the Mzansi Super League ranks in the upper tier of global T20 leagues with an overall economy rate of 8.25 runs per over across the first two editions. This is nearly identical to the IPL's overall scoring rate of 8.26 runs per over, and within range of the world's highest scoring league - England's T20 Blast (8.37 rpo).
As far as six-hitting is concerned, the Mzansi Super League (MSL) ranks near the middle of the pack, some way behind the table-leading Caribbean Premier League (CPL) where on average a six is hit every 17 balls. For the MSL that number is 21.2.
The importance of spin in the T20 format is well established and as of 1 May 2020 nine of the top ten international T20 bowlers were spinners. It is therefore noteworthy that the Mzansi Super League (MSL) has thus far had the lowest spin usage rate (31.8 %) of the major T20 inernational leagues. It is likely that South Africa's reputation of offering conditions that are not particularly spin-friendly (at least in tests and ODIs) has played into this, coupled with the fact that there is an abundance of pace bowlers in the domestic player pool. However, given the global trends, there is certainly room to question whether this low spin usage rate represents an inefficiency in the way MSL teams have operated up to this point.