The business end of a rather dull Champions League T20 2012 is slated to start tomorrow at Kingsmead, Durban at 21:00 hours IST, with the IPL outfit Delhi Daredevils locking horns with South African side Highveld Lions.
With Delhi Daredevils having built a reputation of messing up in the knockouts, having made it to the semifinals thrice in the IPL and losing on all occasions, and with the Highveld Lions being a South African side – South Africans have the popular and unanimous tag of chokers – it’s going to be a battle of nerves more than anything else.
Delhi topped their group having won two of their four matches, with the other two being abandoned by rain without a ball being bowled, while the Lions have won two and lost one, finishing as runners-up in their group. Delhi are at a clear disadvantage having lost two games to rain and having a contingent not completely accustomed to the conditions, while the Lions have had the advantage of playing all four games in addition to being a local side. Both teams till now have held their nerves reasonably well having won close games, but who does it better and comes out on top is the big question.
One interesting thing to be seen is that Lions clearly prefer to chase, having won three games chasing and losing the one where they had to bat first. Delhi on the other hand, have won one batting first and the other batting second. Clearly, the team winning the toss is going to bowl first, given the conditions at Durban which involves the high predictability of rain. The toss is going to be crucial.
Delhi have a better balanced side with international stars who can win a game on their own, though they aren’t in top form. Delhi have had Sehwag and Chand get a few runs, Taylor has been mediocre and the likes of Pietersen and Jayawardene have clearly struggled. This saw Delhi replace Jayawardene with Warner in their last league match, but that failed to bear fruit. Their bowling is top notch and in scintillating form. It is ideally suited to the South African conditions which have seen all of their bowlers doing well, Morkel and Agarkar in particular. The rest have been successful in stifling the batsman and getting the odd wicket.
The Highveld Lions on the other hand, have relied more on their batting. The likes of McKenzie with his experience and gut, De Kock, with his sheer talent and Bodi with his flair have done pretty well. Their bowling hasn’t done particularly well, barring Phangiso who has been one of the bowlers of the tournament so far. Their bowling certainly has huge potential with the likes of Tanvir and Nannes, who wreaked havoc in the first two editions of the IPL. These three are the Lions who have been successful in roaring.
It’s going to be one hell of a match, given the quality of the two sides and their form. The clear disadvantage for Delhi is not having played enough matches here. Acclimatization, therefore, may be a problem. Another problem for Delhi is the Durban rain. There have been talks of a reserve day, but if it fails, the team with more wins in the group stage goes through. So if it does rain, it’s going to be bye-bye Delhi, while the advantage is the potency of the team with more match winners than any other side. On the other hand, the Lions have the home side advantage and form on their side, but they have failed to do that well with the ball.
Assuming there is no rain, it’s advantage Delhi for the sheer quality of the side and the balance. Delhi cannot take the Lions lightly, as they too are a very good side. It has all the makings of a mouthwatering clash.
Players to watch out:
Delhi Daredevils: Sehwag, Morkel
Highveld Lions: De Kock, Mckenzie, Phangiso
Sehwag, Jayawardene (c), Pietersen, Chand, Taylor, Ojha(wk), Pathan, Negi, Agarkar, Morkel, Yadav.
Alviro(c), Bodi, De Kock, Mckenzie, De Bryun, Symes, Morris, Tanvir, Tsolekile(wk), Phangiso, Nannes.