Ram Slam T20 Challenge: All you need to know about 2017 tournament
Titans are the defending champions; big names set to be in action
Last Updated: 10/11/17 5:37pm
You will be able to enjoy some swashbuckling T20 action on Sky Sports Cricket from Friday with the return of South Africa's Ram Slam T20 Challenge.
Six teams will battle it out for the trophy - won in 2016 by Titans for the second year in a row and fifth time in 14 seasons after they defeated Warriors at Centurion - with the final taking place on December 16.
Here is all you need to know…
What is the Ram Slam T20 Challenge?
It's South Africa's domestic T20 tournament, which has been staged annually since the 2003-04 season.
The six teams involved are Warriors, Cobras, Dolphins, Knights (formerly known as Eagles), Lions and Titans, although Zimbabwe played as the seventh side in 2007-08 and Impi - an outfit representing players who just missed out on franchise selection and compete in semi-professional leagues in South Africa - did the same in the 2011-12 campaign.
How does it work?
There is a group stage, where each side plays the others home and away, followed by two semi-finals and a final.
The league bit runs from November 10 to December 10, with the semi-finals taking place on December 13 and 14 and then the showpiece match contested on December 16.
Wasn't it meant to be moved to spring 2018?
That was the initial plan, with a proposed T20 Global League - featuring eight privately-owned teams and up to five international players permitted in each 18-man squad - filling the November-December slot.
However, the Global League has been postponed for a year due to the lack of a domestic TV deal and title sponsor. Hence, the Ram Slam T20 Challenge remains as is.
Any big names involved?
You bet! With South Africa's national side not back in action until the four-day Test at home to Zimbabwe from Boxing Day, the Proteas' big hitters will be on display over the next month - save for skipper Faf du Plessis, who sustained a lower stress fracture of the back during the recent one-day international series against Bangladesh.
Who should I watch out for then?
AB de Villiers for starters, with the former South Africa captain part of the Titans' roster, alongside another destructive batsman in Quinton de Kock.
Titans' pace ace Dale Steyn is also set to make his comeback after over a year out with a shoulder injury, so that'll be nice for batsmen…
Cobras also look strong with Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Vernon Philander in their ranks, while Kagiso Rabada - the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket in 2017 with 54 scalps in his 10 games - will bowl bullets for Lions.
Where will the sixes come from?
De Villiers may supply a few but perhaps look to Knights' David Miller if you're hunting maximums.
It is, of course, only a couple of Sundays back that the left-hander smeared nine of them en route to the fastest Twenty20 international century, from just 35 deliveries against Bangladesh.
Glamorgan's Colin Ingram topped the sixes list during the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast and will be eyeing a few more when he plays for Warriors.
Watch the Ram Slam T20 Challenge on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with Warriors v Knights in Port Elizabeth, live from 3.55pm on Friday.