Highveld Lions v Sydney Sixers, CLT20, Group B, Cape Town October 17, 2012

Form-teams Sixers and Lions to do battle


Match facts

October 18, 2012
Start time 1330 local (1130 GMT)

Big Picture

There is a striking similarity in the Champions League campaigns of the Sydney Sixers and the Highveld Lions. They have won their two opening matches - counting Chennai Super Kings among their victims - their batsmen have contributed right across the order and their pace attacks have thrived on the fast, bouncy surfaces at the Wanderers and in Cape Town. They remain in Cape Town for this clash, and the winners will be within touching distance of the semi-finals.

In Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Shane Watson and Josh Hazlewood, the Sixers have a better pace battery than most international sides can claim, and they will be riding high after restricting Yorkshire to 96 for 9 only two days previously at the same venue. On that occasion, the pace and bounce generated by the Sixers' quicks on a helpful surface not only proved penetrative, but when that aggression was allied with tight lines, the bowling was difficult to score off as well.

If the Sixers can take early wickets, they will be able to test a Lions middle order that hasn't yet been called upon for big runs in this tournament. But given the Lions top four boasts the experience of Alviro Peterson, Gulam Bodi and Neil McKenzie, that will not be an easy task. How the young Sixers pacemen go against the established Lions top order might go a long way in determining the outcome.

The Lions attack may not have as many big names, but they have restricted oppositions to two chaseable totals so far. Different bowlers have starred in each game and stepped up to break burgeoning partnerships, and with the batting also following a similar pattern, the team bears the hallmarks of a side who are achieving beyond what their individual records suggest.

Watch out for...

Apart from having perhaps the best profile picture ever, Aaron Phangiso has provided economy to the Lions attack while some of the seamers have been going for runs. The pitches have not been conducive to turn, but Phangiso has been disciplined and varied enough his pace to strike a good balance between attack and defence on the early-season pitches. He has 3 wickets for 34 from eight overs so far.

Beyond franchise cricket, Brad Haddin's future is being decided by the Australian selectors, as they ponder whether to bring in Haddin or retain Matthew Wade in the Test team. Haddin was belligerent when he came out to bat in what was a straightforward chase against Yorkshire - perhaps in an attempt to improve the Sixers' net run rate, but surely also, to prove his worth to the Australian cause. If the Sixers make it to the Champions League final, Haddin will not have time to play a Sheffield Shield match before the South Africa tour of Australia begins. The best he can do to woo the selectors, if that happens, is to score heavily in the Twenty20 tournament he is playing.


"In the past people saw the Lions as a team that fights from behind. This time we were out to change that perception. We wanted to lead and that's exactly what we're doing."
Lions' middle-order batsman Jean Symes

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Marcio on October 18, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    I have a feeling the lions will rack up a big score, then Sydney will fall short - say 150 runs. Fast bowlers can go for fast runs if a single player gets his eye in and has a bit of luck.

  • JJ on October 18, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Best of luck to both team ...I have never seen on tv/website Petersen in action..anyway first three balls Bodi is doing pretty well....

  • Blaen on October 18, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    @Andrew Fernando LOL...that is the best cricket profile pic I have ever seen :P

  • Ali on October 18, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Both teams look strong... but I guess the Sixers may have the edge...

  • ansar on October 18, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Mitchell Starc is good edition of today cricket

  • Deepak on October 18, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    I would Swap Balaji with Starc as These bowlers dont have the intelligence to bowl when they are gone for the runs.Bringing Balaji he will show that and make others do the same.He is a clever bowler.

  • Deepak on October 18, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    Phangiso again.We expect him to be Delhis net bowler next year.Plz prove to be worthy for the same.I dont think he is good as all the other teams have better spinners than him.He has just took advantage of the break throughs provided by his fast bowlers.Bring him to India.We will destroy him and tell him to study fast bowling.But i dont expect Delhi will do that to destroy his confidence.He can be a better net bowler for them which is good for him also as atleast he can bowl to Shewag.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Sixers pace attack is riduculous!

  • Andrew on October 18, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    @Andrew Fernando- LOL moment! "Apart from having perhaps the best profile picture ever, Aaron Phangiso..." I JUST had to have a look at his profile & then SPRAYED my computer screen. Hilarious! It is a fantastic picture!

  • Satish on October 18, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    The best thing about Phangiso's bowling is, he bowled to some of better players of spin bowling and still went with such a remarkable figures. But i would surely rate Sixers as favorites for their great bunch of quicks.

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