Lions looking to settle scores - Petersen
Lions captain Alviro Petersen doesn't have any preferences for their opponents in the Champions League final on Sunday, but has a score to settle with both Sydney Sixers and Titans. Lions lost to the Titans in the final of the MiWay T20 Challenge earlier this year while the Sixers are the only side to beat Petersen's side in this competition.
"I don't really mind any of them [Titans or Sixers]," Petersen said after they beat Delhi Daredevils by 22 runs in the first semi-final on Thursday. "We lost to the Titans in last year's final. It would be nice to beat them there. The only game we lost in this tournament has been to the Sixers so we would like to put one over them as well."
Petersen believed that hunger and focus are the constants which the team will take to the final. "What I can assure you is the team will be up for it once more, the boys are hungry. We are playing good cricket. We know that the road that we are on doesn't end here. We are focused on preparing for what lies ahead, and that will be our real focus.
"I think the hallmark of this team is that the guys are so committed to each other. We know that everyone can't perform every day. When it's someone's turn, they make the play for us," he said.
The Lions were also not put off by the forecast of inclement weather. Petersen said their performance had improved as they progressed through the tournament.
"We wanted to get out there and play. There was talk of rain but the guys were really professional and mature, the way we have gone about our preparations and performance.
"Running at 75% we have still beaten teams, and today I thought we really upped it to about 85-90% and we showed what sort of team we are. We will take that confidence to the final as well," said Petersen.
Neil McKenzie brought the experience of his 105 Twenty20 games after he walked into bat in the 11th over with his side on 63 for 3. He forged a 59-run fourth-wicket stand with half-centurion Gulam Bodi, McKenzie himself making a 28-ball 46 with four boundaries and a six. However, McKenzie still believed the Lions were ten runs short of a competitive total, but the confidence in the dressing-room made the difference.
"We got off to a nice start with Gulam [Bodi] and Alviro [Petersen] but then we had a little hiccup in the middle there," McKenzie said. "When I got in, there wasn't much time to settle in. It was a case of getting in as quick as I can. Gulam played some nice shots and he got a fifty. But I thought we were ten [runs] light.
"Back in the dressing-room, the guys were saying 140 is enough and the bowlers backed up with a huge effort. The Man-of-the-match could have gone to a lot of the bowlers - [Aaron] Phangiso, [Chris] Morris, Sohail [Tanvir], all the guys did the job. Alviro rotated the bowlers beautifully. It was a great team effort."
McKenzie, who was part of the Hampshire side that won the English domestic Twenty20 competition as well, said experienced batsmen like him also have a place in the format.
"There's definitely a room to bat my way and for the other ways. As long as the strike-rate is high at the end of the day, you can't have seven hitters in the side or seven deflectors. We have a nice balance at the moment, we have a plan to go till a certain stage and then go big from there. It is all about communication, role clarification," he said.