Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Qualifier 6 – Hampshire v Sialkot Stallions
Pride at stake as English champs take on Stallions
Match six of the Karbonn CLT20 2012 Qualifiers is a clash between two champion teams: Hampshire, champions of the Friends Life t20 (England’s domestic T20 competition), take on the Sialkot Stallions, champions of Pakistan’s domestic T20 competition.
Having lost their opening games to the Auckland Aces, both teams will be well aware that they cannot progress to the main draw of the Karbonn CLT20 2012 and will be playing for pride in this match.
Thursday, October 11, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
For Hampshire to make this match a contest, they need their inexperienced batting line-up to come up with the goods. In a format where momentum and form counts for a lot, the Hampshire unit will be hoping Michael Carberry, who scored 65 in the match against the Auckland Aces, can come good again. Shahid Afridi – despite being a dangerous batsman – needs to recover from the trough he is currently in; in his last eight innings in Twenty20 cricket, the Pakistan all-rounder has been dismissed for a duck on four occasions and has managed only 35 runs in the remaining four knocks.
The Sialkot Stallions will look to their two most experienced batsmen to do the bulk of the scoring; Hampshire will be aware that they need to get Imran Nazir early, lest he runs away with the match single-handedly. Skipper Shoaib Malik too needs to shoulder more responsibility if his team is to do well; Malik made an unTwenty20-like 19 in the match against the Auckland Aces, and for someone with as much experience as him, Malik will be aware that his team expects a lot more.
26-year-old Shahid Yousuf was impressive in the game against the Auckland Aces and he will want to impress on the grand stage of the CLT20 yet again. On the bowling front, young Raza Hasan impressed with his accuracy, control and variety in the previous outing, and he will expect to get among the wickets apart from keeping the runs down.
This match will be the first time these two teams will be meeting in a Twenty20 match.
Sialkot Stallions’ 86.04 percent success rate - 37 wins in 43 T20 matches - is the best record in Twenty20 cricket.
Hampshire have played the second-most number of Twenty20 matches in the world – in the nine years since the advent of Twenty20 cricket, they’ve played in 107 matches (only second to Somerset’s tally of 119 T20 matches).
This is the last match for teams in Qualifying Pool 1. Both teams lost their fixtures against the Auckland Aces and have been eliminated from the race to progress to the main event. Therefore, both teams will pack their kits and head home with the expectation to return to CLT20 next season.