Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Qualifier 2 – Auckland Aces vs Sialkot Stallions
Pakistan’s T20 winners make CLT20 debut against NZ champs
Auckland Aces, the winners of HRV Cup (New Zealand’s domestic Twenty20 competition), clash with Sialkot Stallions (Pakistan’s domestic Twenty20 champions) in the second qualifying match of the 2012 Karbonn Champions League Twenty20.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
The Auckland Aces will look towards Martin Guptill and Lou Vincent to do bulk of the damage at the top of the innings. Both batsmen are capable of demolishing bowling attacks single-handedly, and they will be aware that their team will be relying a lot on them. Guptill was the top run-getter in the 2012 HRV Cup and the Auckland Aces will be hoping the 26-year-old opening batsman can repeat his performance in South Africa. There will be lots of expectations from Auckland Aces’ Pakistani import Azhar Mahmood too; the 37-year-old was in prolific form with the bat and more than handy with the ball in the HRV Cup. Something of a T20 specialist, he travels the world over playing in various T20 competitions, and the expectation will be for him to deliver the goods on the world stage.
The Sialkot Stallions will look up to the dashing Imran Nazir to get them off to good starts at the top of the order. On his day, the 30-year-old – who was in good form for Pakistan in the 2012 ICC World T20 – can tear apart the best bowling attacks. The Stallions will be hoping he can make the best of the true bounce South African pitches will offer.
There will also be big expectations from their captain Shoaib Malik to lead from the front. On the bowling front, keep an eye on the 20-year-old left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, who impressed at the ICC World T20, and Rana Naved.
This will mark the first time the Auckland Aces lock horns with the Sialkot Stallions.
This is the first time a team from Pakistan will be competing in the Champions League T20.
The Sialkot Stallions have won the last two domestic Twenty20 competitions in Pakistan and are undefeated for nine matches.
The Auckland Aces not only finished top of the table in the league stages of the HRV Cup, but they also defeated Canterbury by a whopping 44 runs in the title clash.
Both teams’ next fixtures are against the English Twenty20 champions Hampshire. While Auckland Aces’ match against Hampshire is scheduled for October 10, the Sialkot Stallions will clash with the English club on October 11.