Titans and Scorchers kick off group of Dad's Armies
Match factsOctober 13, 2012
Start time 1330 (1130 GMT)
Big PictureIn typical self-deprecating New Zealand style, Gareth Hopkins recently referred to his Auckland Aces side as Dad's Army. Hopkins and Aces have company now that they have qualified for Group A of the Champions League T20 proper. Two of the Group A sides, which will kick the tournament off, can lay equal claim to be old age-wise for Twenty20 cricket.
Titans, who will be playing at their home ground, Centurion, are captained by the 38-year-old Martin van Jaarsveld. They have five other players on the wrong side of 30, including key imports Henry David and Alfonso Thomas. Fighting with the 23-year-old Eden Links for the final spinner's slot is Paul Harris, who will be 34 in a month's time.
Perth Scorchers are not to be left behind either. The 33-year-old Marcus North will lead them, with Paul Collingwood, Herschelle Gibbs, Simon Katich and Brad Hogg, 35-plus all of them, providing the side enough experience. Their highest wicket-taker in last BBL, Ben Edmondson, and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi are over 30 too.
It's an interesting start, then, to a format that is supposed to be of the young, by the young and for the young. Looking, however, at how well Aces did in the qualifying tournament, don't consider number of years inversely proportional to the quality of cricket. Come Saturday, and these sides will certainly want to showcase the energy and enthusiasm of the group of Dad's Armies.
Watch out for...The Marsh brothers will be important components of Scorchers' campaign. Mitchell Marsh was the second-highest run-getter in BBL, and scored 77 in the final although Scorchers didn't win it. Before he left for the Tests, Shaun Marsh too made his presence felt with an unbeaten 99. Scorchers have other hitters around, but the Marshes will be the backbone of their batting order.
Delhi Daredevils may have no use for him, but at his home ground the fiercely competitive Roelof van der Merwe can be a handful. He will hit, he will bowl left-arm slow with the aggression of a fast bowler, and he will be all over in the field for Titans. If he doesn't bring energy to the kick-off, not many will.
Stats and trivia
- Among the two squads, Simon Katich, Alfonso Thomas and van der Merwe have played the most Champions League matches, 11. However, they will all be representing new teams here: Katich has moved from New South Wales to Scorchers, Thomas from Somerset to Titans, and van der Merwe has previously represented Royal Challengers Bangalore and Somerset.
- Marais Erasmus is standing in his 81st Twenty20, which makes him the third-most prolific umpire. He is also on his way to becoming the most prolific, with the two men ahead of him, Simon taufel and Billy Doctrove, not as active.
- Titans have never played Scorchers
Quotes"I like to be very clear on what we have planned. There's a lot of pressure on you when you are out there. Everything is happening so quickly so the more you know what your role is, the better."
Titans' captain Martin van Jaarsveld
"The Big Bash is probably the best."
Herschelle Gibbs, when asked to compare the various Twenty20 leagues he plays in
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo