Daredevils v Lions, 1st semi-final, CLT20, Durban October 24, 2012

Who will overcome big-stage fright?

Match facts

October 25, 2012
Start time 1730 local (1530 GMT)

Big Picture

After South Africa lost from a winning position against Pakistan in the recent World Twenty20, the choking question inevitably came up during AB de Villiers' press conference. De Villiers put on a brave smile and said if South Africa made the semi-finals of the tournament there would be no choking then. South Africa didn't, and de Villiers' assertion wasn't tested. A team from South Africa, Lions, has made the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20, and tomorrow won't be a bad time to see whether de Villiers' confidence is backed up by Alviro Petersen and his men. They have already suffered a mini-choke, against Yorkshire, on their way to the knockouts, where they will be facing a side who have a habit of dominating the league stage and messing up in semi-finals.

Delhi Daredevils have made the IPL knockouts three times in five seasons; they are yet to play in an IPL final, leave alone winning the title. On two of those three occasions, they have topped the table after a long and gruelling league stage only to come up short on the big night. It won't be only the South Africans playing under the shadow of the 'c' word in Durban.

It is interesting to note that the Indian franchise has relied purely on the quicks to make it this far while a left-arm spinner, Aaron Phangiso, has been the key element around which the South African franchise's attack has revolved. Daredevils' attack is lopsided for Indian conditions, but here in South Africa, it has worked superbly.

Watch out for…

Aaron Phangiso has gone for just 4.43 runs an over so far in the tournament. Daredevils, with a captain who is inventive against spin and a former captain who goes hyper-aggressive against it, could target him. He has the variations to cope with attacking batsmen.

Morne Morkel, once again, has led Daredevils' attack admirably. He's been quick, difficult to score off and nasty with the bounce he gets. Most of the Lions batsmen would have played him a lot. How will they tackle him?

Weather and conditions

The tournament has seen four washouts so far. Even as the final league game between Titans and Daredevils was falling prey to rain in Centurion on Tuesday, it was pouring down in Durban, the venue for tomorrow's semi-final. The weather held up today, but the bowlers' run-ups were still wet, and Lions had to practise indoors. The organisers are considering a reserve day for the knockouts, but a final decision is yet to be made. In case of a no-result, the team with the most wins in the group stage will make the final, so Daredevils will be praying the rain stops following them.


"We always thought we can make it to the semis and even the final. The guys have been working hard since April, when we lost the final of the MiWay T20 Cup to the Titans. So, it's not a surprise that we're in the semi-finals; we were expected to do well."
Aaron Phangiso

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo