Champions League T20

Cobras up against hot Victoria

2009-10-16 09:24
Andrew Puttick (File)
Bangalore - The Cape Cobras can take a giant step towards a place in the Champions League Twenty20 semi-finals - and a big payday - when they take on the powerful Victoria Bushrangers in Bangalore on Saturday.

A key to the match could be the battle between the Cape Cobras’ in- form top-order batsmen and a strong Victoria bowling line-up.

Victoria look almost certain to be in the last four after their comprehensive seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, which also ensured they take a highly positive net run rate into Saturday’s match.

Like Victoria, the Cape Cobras carried two points from a win into the Super Eights phase, so another win will put them level with the Bushrangers on four points, eliminating Bangalore and leaving the Delhi Daredevils needing to beat both Bangalore and the Cape Cobras and to achieve a good run rate in their remaining matches.

The Cape Cobras have already secured US$200 000 (about R1.45-million) in prize money for reaching the last eight but further success will increase their winnings enormously. A place in the semi-finals is worth $500 000, the losing finalists will take home $1.3-million and the winners will earn $2.5-million.

Saturday’s match will pit Victoria’s bowlers against the Cape Cobras batsmen, who have been among the outstanding performers in the tournament. Captain Andrew Puttick has hit the only century so far, against Otago, while JP Duminy made a dazzling 99 not out against Bangalore. Justin Ontong was in  majestic form in hitting a six-studded 39 not out against Otago.

Victoria have a powerful seam attack, which includes Australia representatives Shane Harwood, Peter Siddle and Andrew McDonald, as well as Clint McKay, who is among the leading wicket-takers in the tournament. Left-arm spinner Jon Holland bowled an impressive spell against Bangalore.

The Cobras will look to Puttick and Duminy to continue their form and hope for Herschelle Gibbs to be at his stroke-playing best after scoring only one run in the first two matches. The first six overs of an innings, when fielding restrictions apply and the ball is hard and new, could be vital.

The Cape side’s bowlers and fielders will need to repeat the collective effort they achieved against Otago if they are to keep the Victoria batsmen in check. Left-hander Rob Quiney and Brad Hodge are capable opening batsmen, while David Hussey, Cameron White and McDonald all have international experience.

A key factor could be the pitch. The first four matches in Bangalore were played on surfaces which encouraged stroke play but on Thursday a worn pitch made quick scoring difficult.

The Cape Cobras-Victoria match is the first of a Diwali double-header, with Bangalore playing Delhi in the late game.


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