Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Semi-Final 2 – Sydney Sixers vs Titans
Sixers clash with Titans on their home ground
It’s the second semi-final of the Karbonn CLT20 2012. Sydney Sixers, the most impressive side in the tournament, clash with the Titans.
The Sydney Sixers have been invincible in the competition; they’ve won each of their four matches in the Group stage and have been by far the best team to take the field. Despite losing the services of their match-winner – Shane Watson – the Sixers were strong enough for the Mumbai Indians in their final Group fixture.
The Titans meanwhile started their Group campaign with a win over the Perth Scorchers and followed it up with a win over the Auckland Aces. However, since then, they’ve lost to the Kolkata Knight Riders, while their match against the Delhi Daredevils was washed out.
Friday, October 26, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
SuperSport Park, Centurion
The unavailability of Shane Watson is certainly a big blow for the Sydney Sixers, given how much rides on this match. However, the Australian outfit will not be too concerned, given they have several players who have been in good touch. Before his duck against the Mumbai Indians, Sixers’ skipper Brad Haddin was amongst the runs in every other game. Michael Lumb too has been in outstanding form, having scored runs in every outing. In Moises Henriques and Steve Smith, the Sixers have two players in their middle order who are among the runs.
The Titans will be buoyed by the possibility of AB de Villiers becoming available for this all-important fixture. de Villiers, the South Africa limited overs captain, missed the Group matches owing to injury but has remained with the squad in hopes of becoming available for the knockout matches. His addition will be a big boost to the team. Jacques Rudolph (the leading run-getter in the tournament) and Henry Davids have seen the Titans off to a good start in each of their games in the Group stage and the team will hope for that to continue.
The bowling attacks of both teams are in good shape. The Sixers’ Mitchell Starc has bowled impressively right through the tournament and not surprisingly, he is the leading wicket-taker. In Pat Cummins, the Sixers have another strike bowler, while the likes of Moises Henriques and Josh Hazlewood have been very effective in the middle overs. The Titans too have a very good pace attack; CJ de Villiers, Alfonso Thomas and Ethy Mbhalati have all been among the wickets.
Both teams will be meeting in a Twenty20 match for the first time.
The SuperSport Park in Centurion is the home ground of the Titans.
The SuperSport Park is predominantly a chase-friendly ground; in the last 14 matches at the venue, which have had a result, 11 have been won by the team chasing.
The result of this match will determine which way the teams go from here. The winners will progress to take on the Lions in the Final on October 28 and fight it out for the Karbonn CLT20 2012 title and the winner’s purse of USD 2,500,000, while the losers will pack their kits and head home.