Titans v Sydney Sixers, 2nd semi-final, CLT20, Centurion

Australian and South African powerhouses clash

The Preview by Sidharth Monga

October 25, 2012

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Match facts

October 26, 2012
Start time 1730 local (1530 GMT)

Mitchell Starc picked up two wickets, Mumbai Indians v Sydney Sixers, Champions League T20, Durban, October 22, 2012
Mitchell Starc: a possible Test star for years to come © Getty Images

Big Picture

As expected of a young tournament with potentially different qualifiers every year, we have a semi-final between two sides that have never met each other. However, these two sides - not literally, but the regions they are derived from - are traditional powerhouses in their respective countries.

It is generally said that a healthy New South Wales equals a healthy Australia. The same can be said of Pretoria and surrounds, the region the Titans represent, and South Africa. This is one of the appeals of the Champions League. We can quibble about the formats, but here are two teams, traditionally best or thereabouts in their own domestic tournaments, facing each other for a right to play the final of a lucrative tournament.

Sydney Sixers don't have Shane Watson or David Warner (both New South Welshmen now) available, but Titans have lost out on more stars for various reasons. Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers all come from the region, yet they are either injured or representing other franchises, South African or Indian. Sixers, on the other hand, have retained services of a homegrown pace attack that has even Test fans excited. If only Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were going up against Steyn, Morkel and Marchant de Lange, we could even have looked at this as a bit-sized precursor to the blockbuster Test series next month.

Watch out for…

Starc and Cummins have been known outside Australia for some time now, but this was an important tournament for Josh Hazlewood. The rest of the world now knows of another potential baggy green holder. He might not have taken many wickets, but he has bowled his quota in all the four matches he has played, and has gone at just 4.5 per over. Starc, who is leading the charts with 11 wickets, will no doubt acknowledge Hazlewood's contribution to his wickets.

Forget homegrown players, Titans have the services of one who has taken a rather circuitous route. Alfonso Thomas was born in Cape Town, moved to the North-West team in Potchefstroom, then joined Titans, before leaving for Dolphins and then came back to Titans. Despite his one Twenty20 international representing South Africa, he is mostly known to those outside South Africa as a Somerset professional. He will be key if Titans are to exploit what remotely resembles a weakness: Sixers' batting.

Weather and conditions

The forecast point to a "mostly sunny" day and a "mostly clear" evening in Centurion. If it does rain enough to wash the game out, we still have a reserve day on Saturday. That reduces the teams' challenge to dealing with the slightly tacky bounce at SuperSport Park. That this is Titans' home ground should give them a slight advantage.


"There won't be any change in game plan. Everybody knows their role and we will continue to play our roles whether Shane's here or not. So, I don't think that is going to be an issue."
Sydney Sixers' Peter Nevill on the absence of Shane Watson

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

@RyanSmith - technically you are right, although Watto is really a QLDer. == == == Can this be over already? It is really dragging on - T20s are supposed to be a quick game but this League has taken an eternity to get this point. The quote that started with " If only Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were going up against ..." should of finished with Siddle, Hastings, Patto & McKay at the MCG!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (October 26, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

Okay so you have Lee, Bollinger, Warner, Jacques.... (Watson is from Queensland!) I would choose Steyn over Lee, AB De Villiers over Warner, FAF Du Plessis over Jacques (The IPL auction prices agree with me) Morne Morkel and Bollinger.. These two have shown similar performances in IPL,, maybe Bollinger might sneak it. So then you're left with Albie Morkel from Pretoria, Marchant De Lange from Pretoria,, Sorry Mr Smith, your argument falls short.

Posted by RyanSmith on (October 25, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

"but Titans have lost out on more stars for various reasons." I must have missed the part where Brett Lee is not considered a star that the Sixers are missing, he played a huge part in them qualifiying yet is playing for Kolkata. If you are going to count people raised in New South Wales representing other franchises the list is endless. Warner, Bollinger, Jaques just among other CL teams, then you have people like Clarke etc. New South Wales split into two teams and the sixers still won the big bash and are a good chance to win the Champions league. They just seem to replace their missing stars with people who become new stars. (Henriques will join the list of star names if he keeps this season's form up for a sustained period as will Hazelwood etc)

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Tournament Results
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Syd Sixers won by 10 wickets (with 45 balls remaining)
Syd Sixers v Titans at Centurion - Oct 26, 2012
Syd Sixers won by 2 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)
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Daredevils v Titans at Centurion - Oct 23, 2012
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