Depleted champions aim to fill gaps
Match factsSeptember 22, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030GMT)
Brisbane Heat and Trinidad & Tobago, the T20 champions of Australia and West Indies, are faced with similar problems at the start of their CLT20 campaign: they have lost the nucleus of their squad to IPL franchises. Both teams have lost three players each. Heat are without Shane Watson (Rajasthan Royals), Mitchell Johnson (Mumbai Indians) and Thisara Perera (Sunrisers Hyderabad), while T&T have lost Kieron Pollard (Mumbai), Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings) and Kevon Cooper (Royals).
The difference between the sides, however, lies in the other players Heat are missing. Luke Pomersbach is unavailable due to family reasons, and Daniel Vettori and Ryan Harris are out with injuries.
T&T have been consistent over the years, qualifying for the CLT20 for the fourth time. They performed best in 2009, when they had Bravo and Pollard and made the final, but even without the pair T&T have six players who were part of the West Indies squad that won the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Without Watson and Pomersbach, however, Heat will face a strong T&T bowling attack, and they might struggle to counter the spin of Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Sherwin Ganga on Indian surfaces. Heat's solitary specialist spinner is Nathan Hauritz, who had the backing of his captain James Hopes.
"I am pretty sure that Hauritz can have a good impact in the four overs that he is going to bowl," Hopes said. "He is an experienced bowler. We have more than one spinner."
T&T's squad looks stronger too, with batsmen Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, the captain Denesh Ramdin and fast bowlers Ravi Rampaul, Shannon Gabriel and Rayad Emrit. Rampaul will mark his return to competitive cricket after spending three months recovering from an ankle injury.
"We have experience of Rampaul, Narine and [Darren] Bravo and we can give a good account of ourselves," Ramdin said. "Hopefully, we can have a good tournament."
Players to watch
With his international experience and sheer pace, Kemar Roach will need to give Heat the impetus with the new ball. He has the ability to dismantle batting line-ups with his speed, and his knowledge of bowling on Indian pitches could make him Heat's trump card.
Sunil Narine will be bowling to Australian batsmen on Indian pitches, where he has had tremendous success during the IPL. Not only did he take wickets but he also kept the scoring down. With a T20 economy rate of 5.42, Heat will need to find ways to score against Narine.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo