Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 10 – Highveld Lions vs Sydney Sixers
Can the Lions overcome Sixers’ pace battery?
Match 10 – the half-way mark of the league stage of the Karbonn CLT20 2012 – will feature a contest between the Highveld Lions and the Sydney Sixers. The teams have won both their matches so far and a win in this contest will mean one foot in the semi-finals.
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 1:30 p.m. (5:00 p.m. IST)
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Prior to the tournament, Alviro Petersen, Quinton de Kock and Neil McKenzie were identified as the three main characters in the Highveld Lions batting plans – and rightly so. de Kock, a powerful striker of the cricket ball – the team’s top run-getter in the MiWay T20 Challenge – is highly regarded in South African cricket circles and is seen as one for the future. McKenzie and Petersen have played around the world and in a variety of situations and conditions; their experience will be a crucial element to the team’s plans. Gulam Bodi played an incredible knock against the Chennai Super Kings, and that means the Lions now have four batsmen in form.
Despite going for runs in the previous match, the left-arm pairing of Sohail Tanvir and Dirk Nannes will continue to be at the forefront of the Lions’ bowling plans. The left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso has shown incredible temperament in his two outings; after successful performances against two IPL teams, the 28-year-old will be high on confidence and poses a serious threat to the Sydney Sixers’ batsmen.
The Sydney Sixers have operated like a well-oiled machine in both their previous matches. When Shane Watson – the man in form – fell cheaply in the match against Yorkshire, Michael Lumb and Brad Haddin stepped in to see their team through to a convincing win. In an earlier match against the Chennai Super Kings, Moises Henriques stepped up with both bat and ball to help his team put up a commanding performance.
On the bowling front, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, together with the all-rounders Watson and Henriques, have made the most of the helpful conditions. The seamers have accounted for 17 of the 18 batsmen dismissed by the Sixers’ bowlers, and they will hoping for that trend to continue for the rest of the tournament.
Both these teams will be taking on each other for the first time.
The Sydney Sixers have an outstanding record in Twenty20 cricket; they’ve won nine of their 11 matches.
Dirk Nannes has played Twenty20 cricket for 13 different teams, including the Highveld Lions.
The Highveld Lions complete their league fixtures with the match against Yorkshire on October 20, while the Sydney Sixers will enjoy a couple of days break before winding up their league fixtures with the match against Mumbai Indians on October 22.