Cobras look to wriggle into next phase
Cape Cobras v Otago, Hyderabad
October 10, 10.30 GMT
Cape Cobras look good for the second stage of the tournament thanks to JP Duminy's breathtaking 99 which pulled the rug from under the feet of the fancied Royal Challengers Bangalore on the opening day. A victory on Saturday against Brendon McCullum's Otago will ensure qualification while a defeat will leave them sweating over the result of the group's final league game.
Otago haven't had the smoothest of build-ups to the tournament, losing both their warm-up matches. IPL champions Deccan Chargers beat them narrowly, but Justin Langer's Somerset thrashed them by eight wickets. They were without the members of the New Zealand national team - McCullum, Ian Butler, Neil Broom and Aaron Redmond - who only arrived in India on Thursday, leaving little time to get used to subcontinental conditions.
Watch out for:
Herschelle Gibbs will be back at his IPL team Deccan's home ground. He will be looking to make amends for his first-ball duck against Bangalore, especially against a bowling attack which looks to be lacking in firepower.
Hamish Rutherford, son of former New Zealand captain Ken, is not too well known outside his country, but was in devastating form in the State Twenty20, clobbering 220 runs at a strike-rate of 167.93. That's among the best strike-rates around over the past year.
Deccan Chargers v Somerset, Hyderabad
October 10, 14.30 GMT
This is the first game of Group A, and features the two stronger teams in the group, the other being Trinidad & Tobago. With their knowledge of the local conditions and a capacity crowd expected to be egging them on, Deccan start as favourites (though those factors didn't help Bangalore in the face of JP Duminy's onslaught). They have plenty of proven match-winners like Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds, but two of their big Indian stars - Rohit Sharma and RP Singh - have struggled over the past few months. Somerset will need big performances from their pair of senior pros, Marcus Trescothick and Justin Langer, the only players in the squad with significant experience on the subcontinent.
Watch out for:
Andrew Symonds will be playing his first high-level cricket after being sent home just before the start of the World Twenty20 in June. A lethal hitter of the ball, an agile fielder, he can also bowl either spin or seam-up; his versatility is a major asset to Deccan, the reason why they splashed out US$1.35 million a year for his services.
Marcus Trescothick has been sweeping the end-of-season awards in England after a stunning year in which he piled on 2,934 runs across all competitions. This will be his first overseas assignment since pulling out of Somerset's pre-season to Dubai in 2008 due to the stress-related illness which forced him out of tours to India in 2005 and the Ashes in 2006-07.