Ahmedabad Rockets v Hyderabad Heroes, ICL, Gurgaon

In-form opening pairs hold the key

Cricinfo staff

October 28, 2008

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Match facts

Oct 29, 2008
Start time 7.30pm (1400 GMT)


Whenever Ryan Campbell has fired, Ahmedabad have never lost © ICL
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Big Picture

All eyes will be on the opening batsmen for this fixture. While Ryan Campbell and Murray Goodwin were on song for Ahmedabad Rockets against the Royal Bengal Tigers, Hyderabad Heroes's Jimmy Maher and Abdul Razzaq were in unforgiving mood against the Chandigarh Lions. Little doubt the record for the top two partnerships for any wicket belong to both pairs - 137 and 123 respectively.

That said, the pressure will be on Ahmedabad for this encounter as every match is vital for them from here on. A disastrous start to the tournament, which saw them lose their two opening games against Delhi Giants and Chennai Superstars, has meant an uphill struggle for Ahmedabad to make it to the top four. Home advantage in the middle leg of matches did help - they had crushing wins over Mumbai Champs and Royal Bengal Tigers. However, as the points table begin to take final shape, Damien Martyn and his men will be eager to break ahead of the Lahore Badshahs, Dhaka Warriors and Delhi Giants, who are all tied with Ahmedabad on four points

It's not a must-win for Hyderabad, but with as many as four teams just a win away from drawing level with them on points and Chandigarh just behind on run-rate, a victory would do well to provide them with some breathing space. The last match against Chandigarh was a walk in the park for the openers. But as the defeat against table-toppers Chennai Superstars - their only loss in the tournament - has shown, there are still a few chinks in the armour.

Where they rank

The middle tier of the table has certainly hotted up, with a clutch of teams on four points. Ahmedabad, one of those teams will have it all to do as they look to firm a semi-final spot.

Hyderabad are secure at third place, safe from the hotly-contested fourth place, but only just. With six points from four outings, they have an extra game in hand which may come handy in guaranteeing a place in the semi-finals.

Form guide (most recent match first)

Ahmedabad: WLWLL
Hyderabad: WLWW

Stats

  • Ahmedabad are the only team in the tournament to have a 'perfect 10' record. Openers Ryan Campbell and Murray Goodwin piled on the misery for the Royal Bengal Tigers as Ahmedabad overhauled the target of 132 without losing any wickets. They also boast of the second-biggest victory (in terms of wickets) with a nine-wicket win over Mumbai.

  • P Aziz of Ahmedabad boasts of the best bowling strike-rate in an innings in the tournament. He picked up 3 for 16 in two overs against Lahore - a wicket every four balls.

Players to watch

He's hardly been away from the action with bat or ball. Hyderabad captain Chris Harris showed why he's still a threat even at 39 when he held his nerve to guide Hyderabad through against Dhaka. His magical 3 for 18 against Chennai would remind batsmen in this slam-bang format of how difficult it would be to get him away.

Ryan Campbell needed two games before he got going at the top of Ahmedabad's batting line-up, following the failures with an unbeaten 92 against Mumbai and 66 not out against Bengal. Ahmedabad will be looking for another big score from the Australian because they've won whenever he has fired.

Quotes

"Twenty20 cricket is about guys who can bat through."
Chris Harris reveals the recipe for success

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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