Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 1 – Titans vs Perth Scorchers
CLT20 debutants will look for early momentum
The inaugural game of the Karbonn Champions League Twenty20 2012 will feature two teams making their debut in the competition. Titans, the winners of the MiWay T20 Challenge (South Africa’s Domestic T20 competition) will square off against the Perth Scorchers, the runners-up in Australia’s Big Bash League.
The Titans were convincing winners of the MiWay T20 Challenge after they thumped the Highveld Lions by 45 runs in the title clash. The Perth Scorchers on the other hand won five of their seven league matches and got past the semi-final hurdle, before they were beaten comprehensively in the tournament final by the Sydney Sixers.
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 1:30 p.m. (5:00 p.m. IST)
Centurion Park, Centurion
Though the Titans will miss the services of AB de Villiers, they have enough power in their batting line-up to make up for his absence. In Farhaan Behardien, the Titans not only have a consistent run-scorer but also a very good finisher. The 29-year-old was the highest run-getter for the team in their successful MiWay T20 Challenge campaign; apart from scoring his 333 runs at a strike-rate of 143.53, he also remained unbeaten in seven of his twelve outings. The Titans will also need contributions from the willows of their skipper Martin van Jaarsveld and Jacques Rudolph.
Alfonso Thomas is among the top five wicket-takers in Twenty20 cricket, and his team will look towards him for leadership on the bowling front. Roelof van der Merwe holds the reputation of being a very powerful striker of the cricket ball, but he adds a lot of value to the team through his ground fielding and when he starts to pick up wickets bowling his flattish left-arm spin. The 27-year-old van der Merwe was the Titans’ leading wicket-taker (along with Thomas) in the MiWay T20 Challenge, and he will be expected to do that job in the Karbonn CLT20 too.
The Perth Scorchers will look to their top order to do bulk of the run-scoring. In Herschelle Gibbs, Marcus North and Shaun Marsh, the Perth Scorchers have a lot of firepower and experience at the top. While Gibbs was the second-highest run-getter for the Scorchers in their Big Bash League campaign, behind Mitchell Marsh’s tally of 309 runs, skipper North was not too far behind with an aggregate of 273 runs in eight innings.
It is important to note that the Perth Scorchers’ success in the Big Bash League was built around the consistently good starts given by their openers and they will be keen to use the same formula in Karbonn CLT20 2012 too.
This match will be the first time these two teams will be meeting in a Twenty20 match.
Brad Hogg – the Perth Scorchers’ chinaman bowler – will be the second-oldest cricketer to play in the Champions League T20. Sanath Jayasuriya, who took the field for Ruhuna last season, holds the record for being the oldest cricketer to play in the CLT20; he was 42 years and 83 days old during his final appearance in the tournament.
Both teams – Titans and Perth Scorchers – will head to Durban for their next fixtures. While the Titans will square off against the Auckland Aces in the afternoon fixture on October 17, the Perth Scorchers will take the field later the same evening against the IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders.