Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 4 – Highveld Lions v Mumbai Indians
Will home conditions give Lions the edge over defending champs?
Match 4 of the Karbonn CLT20 2012 will feature defending champions Mumbai Indians squaring off against the Highveld Lions.
The Mumbai Indians, who made their first appearance in the CLT20 in 2010, won the title the following season by defeating the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the finals. The team – making an appearance in the CLT20 for the third straight year – will be hoping to win their second CLT20 title.
The Highveld Lions – one of the two South African teams to compete in Karbonn CLT20 2012 – will be banking on familiarity of home conditions as they prepare to improve on their showing in their maiden appearance in the tournament. In 2010, the Highveld Lions only managed to win two of their four league matches and could not progress to the knockouts.
Sunday, October 13, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Quinton de Kock will play an important role in the batting plans of the Highveld Lions. The teenager was the team’s leading run-getter in the MiWay T20 Challenge competition with 324 runs in ten innings. The 36-year-old Neil McKenzie and skipper Alviro Petersen will be important to the Highveld Lions’ batting plans too. On the bowling front, the Highveld Lions will rely a lot on their left-arm pair of Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir. While the former is the leading wicket-taker in the Twenty20 format and has excelled the world over, the latter can be a very difficult bowler to handle given his unusual bowling action.
After missing the Mumbai Indians’ CLT20 campaign in 2011 owing to injury, Sachin Tendulkar is back in the fold. And it is only natural that he will be the focus of all eyes. One expects the Little Master to play the role of anchor, while the stroke-makers around him go for the kill. In Richard Levi, Rohit Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Thisara Perera and Kieron Pollard, the Mumbai Indians have some very destructive batsmen.
On the bowling front, the Mumbai Indians will expect initial breakthroughs from Lasith Malinga, and hope the other bowlers can keep things quiet. Malinga hasn’t been as consistent or as lethal as he was previously, and he will be hoping to rediscover his rhythm.
In the only previous meeting between the two teams – at Johannesburg in the 2010 edition of the CLT20, the home team – the Highveld Lions emerged triumphant after they defeated the Mumbai Indians by nine runs. After Jonathan Vandiar and Neil McKenzie’s half-centuries powered the Highveld Lions to 186 for five, the hosts came on top, despite Sachin Tendulkar scoring a half-century in the run-chase.
The New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg is the Highveld Lions’ home ground.
The Highveld Lions’ Dirk Nannes is the leading wicket-taker in Twenty20 cricket; he has taken 185 wickets in his 153 T20 appearances.
The Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard has the best batting strike-rate among batsmen who’ve scored more than 1000 runs in T20 cricket. He has scored his 2983 runs at an incredible strike-rate of 160.63.
Both teams will shift base to the beautiful Newlands Stadium in Cape Town for their next fixture. While the Highveld Lions will square off against the Chennai Super Kings on October 16, the Mumbai Indians will be seen in action next in their match against Yorkshire on October 18.