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Titans, Dolphins eye CL semi-final berths

Titans, Dolphins eye CL semi-final berths

South African contenders Titans and Dolphins are the winners and runners-up respectively.

Bangalore: South African contenders Titans, the winners of the Standard Bank Pro20 Series, the domestic 2020 tournament, hope to make it to the semi-finals of the Champions League 2020 from Group-A.

They will start their campaign with a match against Middlesex, the England 2020 domestic champions, at Chennai on Friday (December five). Chennai Super Kings and Victoria Bushrangers are the other two teams in their group.

The second team from South Africa, the Dolphins, the runners-up in the domestic 2020 tournament, will be facing Indian Premier League champions Rajasthan Royals in Group-B on the opening day of the competition on December 3 in Bangalore.

Western Australia Warriors and Sialkot Stallions are the remaining two teams in this group. The Champions League 2020 will be played in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai from December 3 to 10 this year.

The two teams have announced their respective squads for the 2008 Champions League 2020.

Given below are brief profiles of the two team members:

Titans:

Pierre Joubert: He is a Right-hand bat and a right-arm fast-medium bowler. He made his Twenty20 debut for the Titans against the Warriors at Benoni, on March 28, 2008. Since then in eight matches he has aggregated 71 runs at an average of 23.66.

Roelof Erasmus van der Merwe: He is a right-hand batsman and a slow bowler. He played a pivotal role in helping his team win the MTN Domestic Championship final in 2008.

Muhammad Imran Tahir: He is a Pakistani cricketer who currently plays for Hampshire. He is a leg-spin bowler and bats right-handed. As well as his first-class career in Pakistan, Tahir has had short spells with Yorkshire and Middlesex in county cricket and Titans in South Africa. He has represented Pakistan in Under-19s and Pakistan A but has failed to win full international honours.

Ethy Nkateko Mbhalati: He is a right-hand batsman and a fast paced bowler. He made his Twenty20 debut against the Warriors at Port Elizabeth on April 1, 2005. In 23 matches he bowled 450 deliveries and took 23 wickets for 533 runs at an average of 23.17. His best was 4/12.

Heino Gunther Kuhn: Heino Gunther Kuhn (born April 1, 1984 in Piet Retief) is a South African first class cricketer who plays for the Titans in domestic cricket. A wicketkeeper batsman, he was the second highest run scorer in the 2006-07 SuperSport Series with 776 runs at 48.50.

Francois du Plessis: Francois du Plessis is one of South Africa's most promising young batsmen. He scored 177 in his third test match. He was given a one-year deal by Lancashire for 2008 on a Kolpak contract.

Basheeru-Deen Walters: He is a right hand batsman and a right arm bowler. He made his first class debut for Eastern Province against Western Province at Port Elizabeth, on Oct. 25-27, 2007. Yet to play Twenty20.

Farhaan Behardien: He is a right-hand bat and a right-arm fast-medium bowler. He made his Twenty20 debut for the Titans against the Eagles at Centurion, on Feb. 25, 2007. In 14 matches, he has scored127 runs with 32 not out his top score at an average of 14.11.

Morne Morkel: An out-and-out fast bowler, Morkel was one of the most consistent performers on the local scene since earning promotion to the Nashua Titans in the 2006 domestic season. Allan Donald marked him out as national potential with good words for the lanky fast bowler's ability to extract bounce and bowl genuinely fast. He was felicitated as the South Africa Player of the Year 2008.

Martin van Jaarsveld: A player of sound technique and steely determination who makes full use of an adequate range of orthodox strokes, van Jaarsveld has a healthy conversion rate of turning half-centuries into hundreds. He is among the finest slip fielders in South Africa. In 2008 he enjoyed a prolific season in four-day and one-day cricket, finishing as the PCA Player of the Year.

Abraham Benjamin De Villiers: at the tender age of 21, he was already being regarded as the future of South African cricket. He made his debut for Titans in 2003-04, racking up five half-centuries in his 438 runs. He is the first South African to hit a double hundred (217*) against India.

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Paul Harris: Slow left-armer Paul Harris is the latest man to be tasked with curing South African cricket's chief ailment - their continued failure to develop match-winning spinners at international level.

Tall and not unlike the former England star Phil Tufnell in appearance and style, Harris eventually made it into the South African squad for the Boxing Day Test against India in 2006. Harris has made his name with the Titans under former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus and is a departure from the usual South African policy of choosing spinners who can also contribute with the bat and in the field. But he has been an integral part of his franchise's success at first-class level, combining accuracy, turn and bounce to claim higher honours.

Gulam-Husein Bodi: Gulam Bodi was born in India but emigrated to South Africa as a teenager and went on to represent SA Schools and played for the Under-19 side in the World Cup. After a successful run in the top order for the Titans he was named in the Twenty20 World Championship squad. He was declared the South Africa Player of the Year 2007.

Dale Willem Steyn: Dale Steyn's rise to national selection was rapid, being picked in the side for the first Test against England in December 2004 little more than a season after making his first-class debut. A genuinely fast, if slightly raw, bowler, who moves the ball away from right-handers, Steyn sprints to the wicket and hurls the ball down with aggression, and often follows with a snarl or side for the batsman. Steyn has won a lot of awards this year like Mutual & Federal SA Cricketer of the Year Award, Supersport Fans Cricketer of the Year Award, SA Players' Player of the Year Award and Castle Test Cricketer of the Year Award. He was also the ICC Test Player of the Year 2008.

Mpho Aaron Phangiso: Phangiso’s playing role is that of a bowler. He is a slow-paced bowler. He made his T20 debut in the year 2006. In 15 Twenty20 matches, he has taken five wickets for 148 runs at an average of 29.60.

Dolphins:

Ahmed Amla (Captain): He is a right-hand batsman who has proved his mettle in bowling and batting alike. He made his Twenty20 debut in the year 2004. He captained the South Africa Emerging Players squad for the 2008 Emerging Players Tournament in Australia.

Imraan Khan: Khan, who is of Indian origin, led South Africa's Under-19 team on their tour of England in 2003, without having played any first-class games at the time. Since then he has been a key member of the Dolphins squad scoring 3108 runs at 36.56.

Hashim Amla: An elegant, stroke-filled player blessed with the temperament to make the most of his talent, Hashim Amla is the first South African of Indian descent to reach the national squad. Amla toured New Zealand with the South African Under-19 team in 2000-01, he captained South Africa at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup, and after starring for the A team, made his Test debut against India in 2004-05.

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Jon Kent: Jon started playing cricket at the age of 8, he has participated in the U19 World Cup as well as Nuffield & SA Schools. He also represented Natal U18 in cricket and hockey for two consecutive years.

Grant Rowley: He is a higher middle order batsman and is a medium paced bowler. He made his Twenty20 debut in the year 2004 and was the highest scorer in his team.

Pierre de Bruyn: De Bruyn is an all-rounder. He is a medium to fast paced bowler and a right handed batsman. He has played for Dolphins, Easterns, Northern Transvaal, Northerns and Titans.

Daryn Smit: He is the wicketkeeper of the Dolphins. However, he has also bowled in a few matches. He was one of a few spinners selected in June, 2008, to attend a spinner's clinic in Mohali, where he worked with former Test leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani. In July, Smit was selected as a wicketkeeper for the Emerging Players Tournament that was held in Australia.

Johann Louw: A hard-working seamer, Johann Louw's career appeared to be heading along a familiar route for South Africans as he forged a solid stay in county cricket, but late in 2008 he was handed a call-up to the national one-day squad. He is a more than useful batsman with a first-class average in the low 20s.

Morne van Vuuren: Van Vuuren is an aggressive power-hitting batsman and a steady left arm spinner. He is a higher middle order batsman who made his Twenty20 debut in the year 2005. Van Vuuren is currently topping the bowling averages list in the SA Airways three-day inter-provincial competition.

Quinton Friend: He is a right hand batsman and a medium to fast paced bowler. He took 95 wickets in 32 first-class matches.

Alfonso Thomas: Thomas had to wait until 2007 for his international debut, and it came in the Twenty20 format when he grabbed 3 for 25 in a win over Pakistan in Johannesburg. Thomas switched from the Titans to the Dolphins during 2007-08 and he signed with Somerset for the 2008 county season as a Kolpak player.

Saidi Mlongo: He is a right-arm batsman and a left arm medium paced bowler. He made his Twenty20 debut for the Dolphins against Zimbabwe in the domestic Standard Bank Pro20 Series.

Yusuf Abdullah: He is a South African cricketer. He plays first class cricket for the Nashua Dolphins and has previously represented the Rest of South Africa. A Left-arm fast-medium bowler, Abdullah was named in the Emerging Players squad to take part in the 4 Nations tournament in Australia in July 2007.

David Miller: He is a right hand batsman and a wicketkeeper. He has yet to make his Twenty20 debut.

first published:November 24, 2008, 17:09 IST