NSW v T&T, Champions League, League A, Hyderabad October 15, 2009

Head start for group stage heavyweights

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Match facts

Friday October 16
Start time 20.00 (14.30 GMT)

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The table headers from two groups, New South Wales and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), get a head start in their league stage campaign, having secured carry-forward points from the opening round. Unlike the popular game show Whose Line Is It Anyway, these points do matter.

New South Wales look the strongest team of the tournament, on paper, and in their performances so far, they have lived up to that billing. They didn't have the best of conditions at the Feroz Shah Kotla, but their top order showed good application in both games. More importantly, they judged the pitch well and gauged what a good target was. A score of 144 was more than enough for the Eagles, who fell short by 53 runs. They had to work even harder to grind out 130 against Sussex, but for the second game in succession, their bowlers managed to restrict the opposition to a score below 100. The top order looks in fine shape, with Simon Katich, Phillip Hughes and Moises Henriques in good nick - the lower order hasn't even been tested so far. In Delhi, the batsmen played a lot of horizontal bat shots which were often mistimed because the ball didn't always come on to the bat. They will prefer the conditions In Hyderabad.

Their opponents, T&T, have been more attractive and daring to watch. After trampling over Somerset, they ousted Deccan Chargers in front of their home crowd in a much closer contest in Hyderabad. They have played like they are out there to enjoy themselves and it has come out in the fearlessness of their strokeplay, ability to break partnerships and enthusiasm in the field: like Kieron Pollard's athletic catch in the deep to get rid of Adam Gilchrist, a turning point in the Deccan match. Their prior exposure at the venue gives them an advantage. But they will still be tested by a world-class bowling attack.

Watch out for...

Dwayne Bravo: The most celebrated cricketer in the T&T line-up has been a roaring hit with the ball, taking 4 for 23 to sink Somerset in Bangalore and three more against Deccan. In both games, he did not concede more than six an over. The second game was more noteworthy because it was anybody's game before the final over, with Deccan needing eight. Bravo held his nerve, landed it on the blockhole, took two wickets and conceded only four runs.

Moises Henriques will be Bravo's direct counterpart. The allrounder has featured prominently in both of NSW's games, coming in at No.4 and bowling economically while picking up five wickets. He infused life with some big hits, chipping down the track to take on the bowling. On the slow pitches, he certainly looked more at home than the rest.

Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard: T&T will count on this pair to give the innings a push in the middle overs. Ramdin made a run-a-ball 39 to lift the team to 150 against Somerset and Pollard's 14-ball 31 was the most crucial contribution in their win against Deccan. While Ramdin is good at nudging the singles, Pollard can be counted upon for the big hits.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo