After a year’s break, Ram couriers have brought CSA a welcome financial package by again backing the domestic T20 tournament.
The popular ‘Ram Slam’ came to end in late 2016, when the company said they had ‘decided not to renew its sponsorship deal’ after four seasons. A CSA press release said the parties were ‘not able to agree on the option to extend’. At the time, reports of match-fixing in the tournament were surfacing, which eventually led to several cricketers being banned from the game. The 2016 tournament went ahead as CSA’s T20 Challenge.
The return of the Ram Slam, which includes the ‘Catch a Million’ initiative being upgraded to ‘Catch Two Million’ will be a welcome relief for CSA, who are taking a substantial hit over the postponement of the Global League T20. The domestic tournament, which was moved forward to fill the vacuum, starts on Friday night at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, when the Warriors host the Knights in an encounter that will see the ground’s new floodlights in use for the first time.
‘It is great news for our cricket to welcome Ram back,’ said CSA Acting Chief Executive Thabang Moroe. ‘We are particularly grateful to them for coming aboard at unavoidably short notice.
‘This season’s competition, which will feature all our Standard Bank Proteas, will probably be the most significant since we launched the franchise concept in this format back in 2004.’
All six franchises will be in action over the weekend with the first of three double headers featuring the Cape Cobras against the Dolphins and the Jukskei Derby between the Titans and the Highveld Lions on Sunday at SuperSport Park.
In the Catch Two Million competition, spectators stand to win a share if they take a clean catch one-handed in one of the televised matches.
‘I don’t think any of us need reminding of the recent feats by the likes of David Miller and AB de Villiers in the recent international matches against Bangladesh,’ said Moroe. ‘We now have the three quickest centuries in T20 International cricket all having been scored by Proteas in Miller, Richard Levi and Faf du Plessis and our fans are not going to be short of opportunities to bid for their share of the Catch Two Million prize money.’