Brisbane Heat v Titans, Group B, Champions League, Mohali September 23, 2013

Titans aim to fine-tune bowling against shaky Heat

Match facts

September 24, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

Brisbane Heat and Titans have started their Champions League T20 campaigns with losses, but compare the two teams and it's hard to deny the advantage that Titans hold.

One of Titans' biggest strengths, as captain Henry Davids stated, is their powerful batting line-up, which is built around AB de Villiers and his brutally effective style of play. Davids, Jacques Rudolph and Farhaan Behardien complement de Villiers well. Their bowling has been strengthened by the presence of the Morne Morkel and they have a strong part-time bowling reserves in medium-pace and spin.

Heat, meanwhile, are already feeling the absence of Luke Pomersbach and Shane Watson, absent due to injury and IPL-team commitments respectively.

Titans will be out to better their average bowling performance that cost them the match against Chennai Super Kings though. Granted, the dew did play a role in the second half of the game in Ranchi, but Titans didn't do themselves any favours with erratic bowling. After the match, Titans' captain Henry Davids admitted the bowling lacked discipline, but this is an attack that is still finding its feet.

Morne Morkel had 11 wickets from five ODIs and three T20Is in Sri Lanka, but also conceded a few runs. Marchant de Lange, finding his way back to cricket after a rib injury struggled for rhythm against Super Kings. The spin bowling attack rests largely on the shoulders of Roelof van der Merwe - their other spin options include Jacques Rudolph, Eden Links and Graeme van Buuren.

They would do well to learn from Trinidad & Tobago, who successfully defended a total of 135 by stifling the Heat batsmen during the Powerplay overs with tight, disciplined lines. Joe Burns was the only Heat batsman who looked in form against T&T - the rest of the batsmen will need to ensure they don't lose their focus in the instance that they lose quick wickets.

Kemar Roach and Alister McDermott are key to Heat's hopes of containing Titans' batsmen. Ben Cutting is another good bowler for Heat, with the bounce that he can derive thanks to his height. Nathan Hauritz, who missed a hat-trick against T&T, can be expected to shepherd the spin attack once again.

Players to watch

Brisbane Heat entered this year's Champions League as Australia's top T20 team and a lot of credit for that rests on the shoulders of Kemar Roach, who shrugged off an indifferent league stage to pick up 3 for 18 off his four overs in the final of the Big Bash League. Roach's skiddish pace can trouble the Titans batsmen and it will be interesting to watch how he uses his short ball against batsmen who are bred on pace.

Marchant de Lange has bigger goals in the tournament. A stress fracture kept him out for most of the previous domestic season and a rib injury put him out of the A-team tri-series recently. The Champions League is an important chance to prove form and, more importantly, fitness to South Africa's selectors, with a place in the 2015 World Cup squad in the offing.

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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