Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 7 – Chennai Super Kings vs Highveld Lions
Can CSK counter Lions’ pace and bounce?
Match 7 of the Karbonn CLT20 2012 will see the Chennai Super Kings taking on the Highveld Lions.
Both teams come into this match with contrasting results in their previous matches. The Highveld Lions got the better of the defending champions Mumbai Indians in their inaugural match, while the Chennai Super Kings went down to the Sydney Sixers in their opening game.
The Highveld Lions made good use of the pace and bounce in the track at the New Wanderers Stadium to suffocate their Asian opponents. Given how uncomfortable the IPL teams are with pace and bounce, the Highveld Lions might contemplate employing the same tactics in this match.
The Chennai Super Kings meanwhile will want to dismiss their match against the Sydney Sixers as a bad memory. After conceding 185 runs – hitherto the highest total in this edition of the CLT20 – CSK struggled to cope with the Sixers’ pace attack. It took special efforts from Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina to bring their team back into contention. Eventually though, a middle order collapse meant CSK would fall 14 runs short.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Even prior to the tournament, the teenager Quinton de Kock was identified as one of the important players in the Highveld Lions set-up. With his match-winning knock against the Mumbai Indians, 19-year-old proved that he was a serious competitor. Although he carries the reputation of being a powerful striker of the cricket ball, de Kock showed in his innings against MI that he also has a sound temperament. In his record-breaking partnership with the experienced Neil McKenzie, de Kock started going after the bowlers initially, but then slowly slipped into the background as his experienced partner opened his shoulders at the other end. Both players, along with Alviro Petersen, will be the key for the Highveld Lions’ batting plans.
On the bowling front, the two left-armers – Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir – will continue to be the central characters.
Suresh Raina will be at the forefront of the Chennai Super Kings’ batting plans. The southpaw is most comfortable when playing in the limited overs format – especially the 20-over one – given that he has the opportunity to express himself from the word go. He was in incredible form in the run-chase against the Sydney Sixers, until a smart catch curtailed his innings. He will hope to carry that form through the rest of the competition. Michael Hussey and Faf du Plessis too will play crucial roles in the CSK batting plans – mainly because of their experience in playing on the hard surfaces they are likely to encounter.
R Ashwin’s four overs are a key component of CSK’s bowling plans. The off-spinner thrives when a challenge is thrown at him. It will be interesting to see how he copes with the not-so-friendly conditions in South Africa.
This match will be the first time these two teams will be meeting in a Twenty20 match.
The average first innings score in Twenty20 matches at the Newlands Stadium is 144.
The Chennai Super Kings have the two players with the most Not Outs in Twenty20 cricket; Albie Morkel tops the list with 61 not outs, while MS Dhoni has remained unbeaten in 40 of his 118 innings in the 20-over format.
The Highveld Lions will be seen in action on October 18 when they clash with the Sydney Sixers, while the Chennai Super Kings will take on their IPL rivals Mumbai Indians on October 20.