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The Preview by Kanishkaa Balachandran
October 9, 2012
October 10, 2012
Start time 1330 (1130 GMT)
How they qualified
Hampshire won the Friends Life t20 by beating Yorkshire by 10 runs in the final at Cardiff.
Hampshire are making their Champions League debut and on paper are a force to reckon with thanks to their limited-overs form this season, winning the Friends Life t20 and the CB40 competition. Led by Dimitri Mascarenhas, the county doesn't have any England stars, but have a couple of exciting overseas picks like Shahid Afridi - although not in the best of form - and Glenn Maxwell. This will be their only chance to make an impression here since English teams are likely to be absent from the next season. They didn't get off to a good start in the warm-ups, losing to Uva Next by six wickets.
One thing that will be in their favour is that their opponents Auckland played the late game on Tuesday, and will have to turn up for the first game on Wednesday. Auckland's new-ball bowlers were in top form against Sialkot Stallions, strangling the top order - No. 3 Haris Sohail took 13 deliveries to get off the mark as Kyle Mills bowled his way to the most economical figures in CLT20 history. Their batsmen were also canny in playing out the dangerous left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, while taking on some of the less threatening bowlers. The big win over Sialkot also means auckalnd's net run-rate gets a healthy boost, which could prove pivotal in deciding who qualifies for the tournament proper.
Players to watch
Dimitri Mascarenhas was Hampshire's leading wicket-taker in the T20 competition in England with 15 wickets in 11 games and fifth best overall. What made his performance more commendable was the fact that he battled the pain of twice tearing tendons in his shoulder. He played a vital role in the knockouts, taking 2 for 11 in the semi-final and 2 for 20 in the final. His big hitting will be a plus for Hampshire.
Martin Guptill didn't have a productive World T20 for New Zealand, scoring 75 runs in four games. However, Auckland will need him to provide strong starts at the top of the order. Guptill was in spectacular form in the domestic HRV Cup 2011-12, scoring 504 runs in ten games, including a century. He found his touch against Sialkot as well, top scoring with a fluent 70 before picking out deep square leg with a powerful pull.
"We haven't yet had a team from New Zealand go into the main tournament in the CLT20. So, that's something we want to prove to the world and to ourselves that we can do"
Auckland and New Zealand seamer Chris Martin.
"We're not expecting a whole lot from him with the bat, whatever we get is a bonus but we know he can do it if he has to. We will use him more as a bowler who can bat a bit."
Dimitri Mascarenhas on Shahid Afridi
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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