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CLT20: Scorchers, Titans set for the curtain-raiser

Australia's Perth Scorchers seem to have the upper hand against the South Africans owing to the experience quotient.

Deborshi Chaki & Diptosh Majumdar |Cricketnext.com |October 12, 2012, 10:43 PM IST
CLT20: Scorchers, Titans set for the curtain-raiser

The Champions League T20 2012 will kick off with South Africa's Nashua Titans taking on Australia's Perth Scorchers at Centurion on Saturday. The Titans qualified for the tournament by winning the domestic T20 competition in the country. They beat the Lions by 45 runs in a one-sided final. The Scorcher meanwhile qualified by making it to the Big Bash League final where they lost to Sydney Sixers by 7 wickets.

The Titans would have been a much stronger team had Morne Morkel, Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis not chosen to play for their respective IPL franchises. Also, the pull-out of AB de Villiers from the tournament due to an injury was a big blow to them. However, they still have fast bowler Alfonso Thomas. Thomas, who plays for Pune Warriors India in the IPL, has plenty of experience and his bowling on the familiar wickets holds the key for the Titans. Then there are Jacques Rudolph and the explosive David Weise from whom the team has high expectations.

The Scorchers, on the other hand, have a lot of star attractions, some really effective T20 players. Mitchell Marsh is one of them. The 20-year-old allrounder scored the maximum runs in the Big Bash League this season with 309 runs at an average of 51.50. The Scorchers are also rich in experience as they have the likes of Marcus North, the captain of the team, Simon Katich, England allrounder Paul Collingwood, Herschelle Gibbs and Brag Hogg, who is still playing T20s for Australia, in their squad.

Looking at both the teams, the Scorchers seems to have the upper hand thanks to the presence of some seasoned players in their team. However, it's an unpredictable format and picking a winner is not such a good idea.

With a local team featuring in the match, the Supersport Park in Centurion is expected to be packed to the rafters. Since there is very little enthusiasm about the tournament with many people calling for it to be scrapped, it's important the opener gets off to a flier. Both teams should be aware of it.

Probable XIs:

Titans: 1 Henry Davids, 2 Heino Kuhn (wk), 3 Roelof Van Der Merwe 4 Faf du Plessis, 5 Jacques Rudolf 6 Martin van Jaarsveld (c), 7 Farhaan Behardien, 8 David Wiese, 9 Alfonso Thomas 10 Ethy Mbhalati 11 Eden Links

Scorchers: 1 Herschelle Gibbs 2 Marcus North (C), 3 Luke Ronchi, 4 Mitchell Marsh, 5Paul Collingwood 6 Simon Katich 7 Nathan Rimmington 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile 9 Brad Hogg 10 Michael Beer 11 Ben Edmonson

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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