Power against pace at the Bullring
Match factsOctober 14, 2012
Start time 1330 (1130 GMT)
Big PictureA big crowd greeted the opening day of the main tournament in the 2012 Champions League, and the first game of the second promises enough excitement to draw a similar, if not better, response on Sunday. Chennai Super Kings have some big names in their batting, the Sydney Sixers have two of the best upcoming fast-bowling talents. Super Kings have an impressive spinner who's had plenty of success bowling in the Powerplay, Sixers have an allrounder who's made the opening slot in limited-overs cricket his own in recent times. Both teams have wicketkeeper-captains who are also attacking batsmen, and players with all-round ability and an approach ideally suited to the T20 format.
Super Kings have won the Champions League before, in South Africa, and the IPL twice, the Sixers are the current Big Bash League champions. The Sixers have fewer players who've had experience of South African conditions, but that's not to say they won't relish them. In a group comprising two big-name IPL teams, the Sixers provide an excellent counterbalance.
Watch out for...It was in South Africa, at the same venue, that Pat Cummins made a dream Test debut, picking up seven wickets to set up his team's series-levelling victory. He bowled quick, swung the ball, got purchase from the conditions, and his partnership with Mitchell Starc will be one to watch for. Starc, who's troubled batsmen with his inswinging delivery, had a productive World T20 and a successful limited-overs series against Pakistan in the UAE, in conditions that suited the slower bowlers more. He shouldn't mind bowling in South Africa. They're 19 and 22 respectively, and Sixers and Australia should think they're blessed.
Albie Morkel is the most experienced Twenty20 cricketer, with 202 matches. Unlike South Africa, who've dropped him from the XI in the past, Super Kings retained him ahead of the auction before the fourth IPL season. He didn't have a great World T20, amid talk that he'd been underutilised with the bat, and had an off day against Pakistan with the ball in a game that South Africa lost after being in control. He's back at home now, and it'll be interesting to see how best Super Kings use him, especially with the bat.
Stats and trivia
- Ashwin is three wickets away from taking 100 in the shortest format of the game.
- Nathan McCullum's next Twenty20 game will be his 100th.
- The South African-born England batsman Michael Lumb is the most experienced T20 player in the Sydney Sixers squad, with 119 games.
Quotes"He has confidence in Ashwin to bowl in the Powerplays. Ashwin has also been bowling a few new balls with a new action. He comes up with something new every day so to have a guy like him in the team gives more options to the captain."
S Badrinath on MS Dhoni's strategy
"We're actually lucky that in Australian cricket, at the moment, we've got a crop of quicks that are pushing the speed gun up to where we like it."
Brad Haddin isn't complaining about having Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in his side
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo