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CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg

Finalists talk up battle of bowling attacks

Sixers and Lions believe the two teams’ pace attacks will make for a tight CLT20 final

It’s that time of the year again. The Champions League Twenty20 final is upon us and we’re ready to crown the new champion of champions. This time, the battle for the biggest T20 prize is between South Africa and Australia as the Highveld Lions and the Sydney Sixers sweat it out at the Wanderers on Sunday.

On the eve of the grand finale, Lions’ skipper Alviro Petersen, and Sixers’ vice-captain Steve Smith, addressed a joint press conference. Towards the end of it, they agreed that the final contest will see a battle between the two best bowling attacks in the tournament.

“Both teams have a good T20 bowling attack,” Smith said, as he was representing the Sixers in the absence of captain Brad Haddin. “Hopefully the wicket will have good bounce and pace. They’ve got some very good T20 bowlers in Dirk Nannes, Sohail Tanvir and Chris Morris, who has done well in this tournament.”

Petersen nodded in agreement. “We’re pretty much the same in the way our team and bowling attack is formed. From that point of view, we’re probably closely matched. The Sixers have one of the better bowling units and I think it will be a close contest between the two bowling attacks.”

As their skipper said, the Lions have stepped it up a little with every game they’ve played in the tournament. They look like a team that really wants to win. The Lions’ hunger was not lost on Smith, who acknowledged that, “The Lions are very desperate to win,” adding that the Sixers are equally keen to make the most of the opportunity. “This is a chance for the domestic teams to showcase their skills at the international stage.”
Petersen credited the Sixers for playing top-level cricket right through the tournament and expected the final to be a thrilling contest.

“Sydney Sixers and us have played some good cricket in the tournament. Obviously home advantage has been massive as both teams are used to bouncy tracks.

“The final is going to be a very close game. One or two overs will decide where the game is going. We’re familiar with the conditions at the Wanderers. If you compare the two bowling line-ups, there’s pace in both of them. I think the middle overs will be important. We’ve dominated that period in almost all our games and I think that will play a massive role once again.

About Haddin’s absence, Smith said the captain had gone for a scan on his thumb, which took a blow during the semi-final against the Titans. “Brad has led the team very well throughout the tournament. He went out to bat last night and felt pretty okay. He’s gone for a scan this morning and hopefully he’ll be fit for tomorrow’s game.”

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