Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Semi-Final 1 – Delhi Daredevils vs Highveld Lions
Mighty Daredevils go up against roaring Lions for a spot in the finals
It’s the first semi-final of the Karbonn CLT20 2012. After a tightly contested Qualifying Stage and 20 Group matches, four teams – Delhi Daredevils, Highveld Lions, Sydney Sixers and Titans – have made it to the semi-finals.
The Delhi Daredevils and the Highveld Lions clash in the first of the two semi-final matches to decide which of the two progress to the title clash. The Daredevils – the only Indian team to progress to the knockouts – finished top of Group A with 12 points; they won two of their league matches, while the remaining two games got washed out due to wet weather.
The Highveld Lions finished second in Group B with as many points as the Daredevils. Their only defeat in the Group Stage came against the Sydney Sixers.
Expect both teams to bring their A game to the park in this all-important clash.
Thursday, October 25, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
The Delhi Daredevils boast perhaps the best batting line-up in the competition. However, Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor have managed to accumulate 163 in eight innings together. In a match that offers no second chances, the Delhi Daredevils will need all their batsmen to come out firing on all cylinders.
Opening batsman, Gulam Bodi, is the Lions’ top run-getter in the competition; the left-hander scored half-centuries in the match against the Chennai Super Kings and the Sydney Sixers, before a failure in the match against Yorkshire. The Lions will be banking on him to get them off to a good start. Neil McKenzie too has been among the runs; the team will be better served if he can convert his starts into match-winning performances. Quinton de Kock, who was tipped as one of the players to watch in the days leading up to the tournament, has had two good outings, and will be keen to come good in this match.
Both teams have formidable bowling attacks, although the Lions will believe they are better off because their main spinner is amongst the wickets too. Aaron Phangiso, the left-arm spinner, is the Lions’ leading wicket-taker; not only has he picked up wickets, but he has bowled beautifully, not afraid to toss the ball up and has even outsmarted batsmen from the sub-continent who are so used to playing spin.
For the Delhi Daredevils, the pace quartet of Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar have not only kept the runs down, but have also accounted for each of the 12 wickets the team has taken in the competition. They will hope for more of the same in this match.
Both teams will be meeting in a Twenty20 match for the first time.
In 2012, Mahela Jayawardene became the fifth individual to lead the Delhi Daredevils. Ross Taylor has also led the side on one occasion earlier this year – becoming the sixth Daredevils skipper. Others who have led the Delhi franchise are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik and James Hopes.
Aaron Phangiso tops the list of Lions’ wicket-takers. The wily spinner has accounted for 30 scalps in 33 T20 games for his team.
The result of this match will determine which way the teams go from here. The winners will progress to the title clash on October 28 and fight it out for the Karbonn CLT20 title and the winner’s purse of USD 2,500,000, while the losers will pack their bags and head home.