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Prajakta Pawar in Johannesburg

Sixers’ bowling is superior, DD have big names: Gavaskar

Batting legend talks about his picks among the CLT20 2012 semi-finalists

With the curtains drawn on the league stage and the semi-finalists for the Karbonn Champions League Twenty20 2012 lined up, it is time to review the four teams that have made the cut. So we caught with former India captain and commentator Sunil Gavaskar to get his views on the Highveld Lions, the Delhi Daredevils, the Sydney Sixers and the Titans and put things in perspective.

While speaking to clt20.com, the legendary batsman said that the Titans are the surprise package and picked the Daredevils and the Sixers as the teams to watch out for given their line-ups and performances respectively.

Here is Sunil Gavaskar’s analysis of the four CLT20 2012 semi-finalists:

Semi-final 1 – Delhi Daredevils vs Highveld Lions

The Highveld Lions

They stumbled a little bit against the Sydney Sixers but they have also been quite impressive. They have got a good opening line-up; they are batting with the experienced Neil McKenzie who has batted well. And their bowling is steady without looking menacing like the Sydney Sixers’. Sydney has a good pace attack; it is like an Australian pace attack. The Lions’ bowling has been steady but the fielding has been outstanding and therefore they will be a side to watch out for.

And how will they fare against the Delhi Daredevils?

It is going to be interesting to see how they fare, because the Delhi Daredevils have got a superstar line-up. If you look at the players, as far as the Delhi team is concerned, they are always in a dilemma over which of their overseas players to leave out of the playing XI. In such a situation the opposition knows that even if one batsman is not there, there is another major player, a superstar coming out to bat. So, it is never easy for the opposition. So, the competition between the Delhi Daredevils against the Highveld Lions will be quite interesting to watch.

What DD needs to do?

The fielding needs to be worked on. The fielding sometimes has not been up to the mark. That is the one area that they have to work on. Their bowling can also sometimes leaks runs, particularly in the last four-five overs that is in the last quarter of the innings. So that’s the area, from the 16th to the 20th over, that they have to watch out for.

Semi-final 2 – Sydney Sixers vs. Titans

The Sydney Sixers

They have been impressive. They have won all their four league matches. They seem to have a balanced team. And the last match they played, in the absence of Shane Watson who has been their key player, also showed that they will probably not miss him. Although it is hard to say that because he is the kind of cricketer who can turn the match with the bat as well as the ball; and then as a fielder he has been outstanding. It has been a very impressive performance by them. They have a good balanced bowling line-up and they also have got a good batting side. But in the crunch matches, in the knock-out matches it is a must-win situation, while in league stages you have another match to play, so you can sometimes play a bit casually and get away with it. But not so in the knock-out matches. So, it is going to be interesting to see how they cope in the semis and if they get to the finals.

The Titans

They have been, I have to say, the surprise team. Because they don’t have any big name players but they have gelled excellently. They believe in each other, they support each other and you can see the excitement that they have in playing in this kind of competition. And that is important because sometimes the known players, the main players, can be a little bit jaded and can take a particular tournament or event lightly; not so with the Titans. In the Titans, every single player is out there trying to contribute and win the game. So, I think they are very dangerous side.

The contest between them is going to be hard to predict. Twenty20 cricket is very difficult to predict. As I keep saying, eventually it is the team that keeps a cool head that gets to the end. And as we saw in the Auckland Aces game against the Perth Scorchers, one mistake, Martin Guptill throwing his wicket away, turned the match around. So, it is a question of keeping your cool under pressure.

The key to success

When the going is good, don’t throw it away. Don’t take it lightly and don’t depend on the next man. Finish it yourself.

Pick of the teams

It is difficult to pick. But as far as names are concerned, you would say the Delhi Daredevils have got the big names. But I think the Sydney Sixers have won all their four matches here; they have been the best team so far and with their bowling attack they will be a serious threat.

Role of the South African conditions

If there is rain, it will mean that there will be some help for the bowlers, swing in the air and movement off the pitch; so batting will not be easy. 

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