Brisbane Heat v Titans and Trinidad & Tobago v Sunrisers Hyderabad
Group B, sixth and seventh matches respectively
Tuesday Sept 24, 11.30 BST and 15.30 BST respectively
Live Stream: Eurosport 2
TV info: Eurosport 2, 11.20 - 14.45 BST and 15.20 - 18.45 BST, highlights 20.00 - 23.30 BST
Brisbane Heat v Titans Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh
Day 8 of the Champions League Twenty20 kicks off with an absolute must-win clash for both the Brisbane Heat and the Titans. They represent the domestic champions from Australia and the runners-up from South Africa respectively, who each lost their opening Group B fixtures on Sunday.
However, it is Heat who will be feeling the more vulnerable of the two teams going into this fixture, as the Australians look particularly weak having lost so many star performers from the side that beat the Perth Scorchers in January’s Big Bash final.
Shane Watson (Rajasthan Royals), Mitchell Johnson (Mumbai Indians) and Thisara Perera (Sunrisers Hyderabad) have all since moved on to Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, and Heat have been severely weakened by the injury-enforced absences of both key bowlers Daniel Vettori and Ryan Harris, while Luke Pomersbach is also missing due to family reasons.
On the plus side, though, Heat captain James Hopes can call upon both West Indies paceman Kemar Roach to open the bowling and former Australia off-spinner Nathan Hauritz as his main tweaker, with both men impressing greatly in their opening group-stage loss to Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) by recording four-over bowling figures of one for 29 and two for 22 respectively.
If Hopes’ men are to get off the mark in Mohali on Tuesday, then they may need something special with the new ball from the speedy Roach, who has good experience of bowling in Indian conditions.
Meanwhile, the Titans will themselves have taken great heart from their own narrow four-wicket defeat against IPL champions the Chennai Super Kings in Ranchi on Sunday, particularly when one considers they entered the tournament with a new captain (Henry Davids) and coach (Rob Walter) following a 2012-13 Ram Slam T20 campaign that saw them go 10 matches without a win at one point, before their eventual loss in the final to Highveld Lions in March.
However, when you can call upon the services of a number of South Africa internationals, including world-class performers such as AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel and Marchant de Lange, then you will always be confident of victory against any opposition.
The Proteas one-day international skipper was in blistering form with the bat on Sunday, smashing an incredible 77 from just 36 balls with three fours and seven sixes, but the latter two who actually found the going far harder at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.
Beanpole opening bowler Morkel was carted for 47 runs from his allotted four overs while Lange, having just returned from a rib injury, did not fare much better, conceding 34 runs from his three overs.
Trinidad & Tobago v Sunrisers Hyderabad Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh
In Tuesday’s second Group B fixture, we see the Caribbean T20 champions T&T take on qualifiers the Sunrisers Hyderbad, with Denesh Ramdin’s men looking to maintain their 100 percent start following an impressive 25-run victory over Heat in their group opener on Sunday.
T&T should not be underestimated in either this group, or in terms of being a genuine challenger for the competition itself, as they take part in what is their fourth appearance in the Champions League.
And with a side containing the backbone of West Indies team that were crowned T20 world champions in Sri Lanka in 2012, including the likes of Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul and perhaps most importantly, Sunil Narine, do not be surprised either if they manage to go one better than in 2009, when they finished as runners-up.
But equally, the loss this year of key personnel to various IPL franchises, such as Kieron Pollard (Mumbai), Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings) and Kevon Cooper (Royals), may ultimately count against them when it comes to the latter stages of the competition.
Either way, though, it will be fascinating to see how T&T’s less-celebrated bowlers, such as Rayad Emrit, and spinners Samuel Badree and Sherwin Ganga, get on against the Sunrisers’ big-hitting batting lineup on Tuesday.
The team from Hyderabad, who finished as runners-up to Otago in the qualifying group after winning two of their three fixtures, boast the likes of big-hitting India duo Parthiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan as openers, while South Africa’s JP Duminy and West Indies skipper Darren Sammy occupy the middle-order berths.
However, it is the bowling combination of pacemen Ishant Sharma and Dale Steyn, in partnership with leg-spinner Amit Mishra, which is where the strength really lies in Dhawan’s side, and they might just make them slight favourites to overcome T&T on Tuesday.