With Group B done and dusted a few days back and the viewers losing interest in the last few games due to the several inconsequential games, the focus shifts to Group A. While IPL outfit Kolkata Knight Riders were down and out already, they have been detrimental in opening up the group. As we stand, there are three teams in contention for a semifinal berth; Delhi Daredevils, Nashua Titans and Auckland Aces, all having a realistic chance of making it to the top four. Get set for a fascinating day of cricket in the Champions League, which has been boring till now. That is if the rain Gods stay away.
In the first match of the day, the Auckland Aces, who have six points in the bag, face Australian side Perth Scorchers at SuperSport Park, Centurion in a must-win game if they are to have any chance of going through. A loss for the Aces would mean a flight back to New Zealand. For the Perth Scorchers, all is lost already. The game begins at 17:00 hours IST.
In the second game of the day, the pre-tournament favourites Delhi Daredevils face the local side, the Nashua Titans at the same venue. Delhi stands on ten points while the Titans have eight points in their kitty. The result of the first game will largely influence the game. This game will then decide who makes the cut.
As it stands:
|Kolkata Knight Riders||4||1||2||0||1||6||+0.488|
Permutations and Combinations:
- If Auckland Aces beat Perth Scorchers and Delhi Daredevils beat Titans, Delhi and Auckland go through on points; Delhi as the top side and Auckland as the runners up.
- If Auckland Aces beat Perth Scorchers and Delhi lose to Titans, Titans go through on points and Delhi and Aces will fight for the second spot on Net Run Rate (NRR).
- If Perth Scorchers beat Auckland Aces and Delhi Daredevils beat Titans, Delhi qualify as group winner and Titans as the runners up.
- If Perth Scorchers beat Auckland Aces and Delhi Daredevils lose to Titans, Titans qualify as group winners and the runners up being Delhi.
- If Perth Scorchers beat Auckland Aces and Delhi Daredevils v/s Titans game gets washed out, Delhi qualify on top and Titans on 2nd.
- If the Perth Scorchers v/s Auckland Aces gets washed out and Delhi beat Titans, Delhi go through as Group winners and the NRR deciding the runners up between Aces and Titans.
- If the Perth Scorchers v/s Auckland Aces gets washed out and Delhi lose to Titans, Titans go through as Group winners and the runners up being Delhi.
- If both the games get washed off, Delhi –top, Titans- runners up.
The above combinations throw light on all the possibilities for the exciting Group-A, thanks to the Kolkatan outfit, Knight Riders.
Perth Scorchers v/s Auckland Aces
Now, let’s not be naysayers and hope both the games go through. Given the conditions and the matches that have been held here, the wicket seems to have something in store for both the bat and the ball, and hence, the team with a better balance should make the cut.
Auckland Aces start as clear favourites against the out of form Perth Scorchers, who however had a good last game against a strong Delhi side. The Scorchers will play for nothing more than pride. Auckland too has had some hiccups, but still have a better balance about them. The presence of Azhar Mahmood, one of the most useful all-rounders in the game, gives Aces the clear edge. However, the Scorchers can turn it around on their day, given the number of match-winners in their side.
Key Players: Perth Scorchers: Gibbs, Marsh brothers
Auckland Aces: Azhar Mahmood, Andre Adams, Martin Guptill.
Delhi Daredevils vs Nashua Titans
The second game of the day has all the makings of a great game. The Delhi Daredevils have been in great form, while the Titans have used their home advantage to good effect. To be honest, there are no favourites in this game. To begin with the Titans, they have been really good in two out of their three games, stuttering in the other against the Knight Riders. They would have to thank their openers, with both the bat and ball, for their success. Their openers (Rudolph and Davids) have given them the crucial runs at the top, followed by decent efforts from their middle order, who have consolidated on the openers’ effort. The bowling attack too has potential, and looks potent on these tracks. Thomas and C. J. de Villiers have been impressive for the Titans, with Roelof van der Merwe chipping in with useful wickets in the middle.
Delhi on the other hand have seen different heroes in different games, which is in a way good for the team, as different players have risen to the occasion when the situation demanded it. Sehwag and Chand are the in-form batsmen for Delhi, with the likes of Jayawardene, KP and Taylor showing great potential.
Delhi’s USP and strength has been their bowling. Their fast bowling attack has been lethal, scalping wickets at the top through Morkel and Pathan. Pawan Negi has successfully stifled the batsmen in the middle, and Agarkar has also chipped in with wickets. All in all, Delhi have one of the finest attacks in the competition, given the conditions on offer.
Delhi Daredevils: Sehwag, Chand, Agarkar, Morkel
Nashua Titans: Rudolph, Davids, De Villiers, Thomas.
Auckland Aces beat Perth Scorchers
Delhi Daredevils beat Nashua Titans
Delhi Daredevils – Group topper
Auckland Aces – Runners Up