Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 14 - Highveld Lions vs Otago Volts
Volts eye knockout spot, Lions survival
Match 14 of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013 will see the Otago Volts go up against the Highveld Lions.
The Lions have lost to the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, but have two points on the board from their washed out match against the Perth Scorchers. The Volts meanwhile have four points from their win against the Perth Scorchers and two more points from their washed out match against the Mumbai Indians. With the qualification scenario far from clear in Group A, both teams will be aware that a win will only give them a good chance of progressing to the knockouts.
On paper and on the basis of recent performance, the Volts are a far superior outfit to the Lions. But the Twenty20 format is so unpredictable that any team can beat any other team on their day. The Lions will believe they have what it takes to overcome their formidable opponents, while the Volts have the momentum with them and will want to keep doing all the things they’ve done right in their 15-match unbeaten run.
Sunday, September 29, 2013, 4 pm IST
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
In the Lions batting line-up, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie and skipper Alviro Petersen will be the ones expected to get the bulk of the runs. The young de Kock was the pillar of the Lions’ successful run in the RAM Slam T20 Challenge; but the 20-year-old has been guilty of not converting starts into big scores in this competition. Though McKenzie and Petersen may not be rated among the more dangerous players in the T20 format, they are consistent performers with the bat and have what it takes to accumulate runs even against the best in business.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Sohail Tanvir have caused a lot of problems with the ball. Imran Tahir, a bundle of energy when given the ball, will be a useful weapon too, given his variety of leg-breaks and googlies.
The Otago Volts will be pleased with the form of their batsmen. Brendon McCullum, Hamish Rutherford and Ryan ten Doeschate have all scored runs at various points of time. The latest Volts batsman to grab everyone’s attention is the opening batsman Neil Broom, who smashed his way to a career-best 117 against the Perth Scorchers in the team’s previous outing.
The Volts pace bowlers have picked up a lot of wickets this season and they will be expected to strike again. However, there will be a little pressure on the two spinners in the Volts ranks – Nick Beard and Nathan McCullum – given a lot of the Lions batsmen have struggled against spinners.
The Otago Volts score a high percentage of their runs in boundaries. Their batsmen have hit 54 boundaries and 38 sixes in the competition (including the Qualifying tournament), which account for 65 percent of the runs scored by the team.
This is the Highveld Lions’ last Group fixture in the competition; their future in the tournament will depend a lot on the result of this match and results of the remaining matches in Group A. The Otago Volts meanwhile play their final Group fixture against hosts Rajasthan Royals on October 1.