Lions v South Australia, CLT20 2010, Centurion

South Australia face upbeat Lions

The Preview by Abhishek Purohit

September 11, 2010

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Match facts

Sunday, September 12
Start time 1330 (1130 GMT)


Shaun Tait appeals for an lbw, Western Australia v South Australia, Twenty20 Big Bash, Perth, December 29, 2009
Shaun Tait will be a key figure with the ball for South Australia © Getty Images
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Big Picture

If the Lions' game against Mumbai Indians was akin to David taking on Goliath, this one is more even. The South African team meets South Australia, who are without their star players Kieron Pollard and Shahid Afridi, and have now gone 14 years without a domestic title since their Sheffield Shield win in 1995-96.

The Lions at least have a domestic Pro20 crown from 2006-07 to show for their efforts. The last time South Australia won anything, they were led by current Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons. That just goes to show how barren their cupboard has been in recent times. So they surprised even themselves by winning four games on the trot in the last Big Bash - Australia's domestic Twenty20 tournament - before being thrashed by Victoria in the final. Pollard and Afridi had a big role to play in that run and to say that they will be missed is an understatement.

South Australia have arrived with a new leadership team of Michael Klinger and his deputy, Callum Ferguson. Neither batsman has a reputation for being a hitter and Ferguson, who has a T20 strike-rate under 110, hasn't played since injuring his knee in the 2009 Champions Trophy final. The batting hopes will rest on Daniel Harris, whose 62-ball 98 against Victoria is the highest T20 score by a South Australia batsman.

The Lions, meanwhile, will be upbeat after beating star-studded Mumbai, giving them one of the biggest wins in their history. Their bowlers came back after Sachin Tendulkar looked to be running away with the game, and will fancy their chances against a South Australian batting line-up that lacks its big guns.

Watch out for...

After recently ruling out a return to Test cricket, Shaun Tait will be keen to show once again that he belongs in the shortest format in which a tearaway spell of a couple of overs, something that he is quite capable of, can change a game.

Though the batsmen set up the Lions' win on Friday, Shane Burger applied the finishing touch with his medium-pace, bowling Tendulkar and Pollard in consecutive overs. He will look to be on target once again with his full-pitched deliveries.

Key contests

Jonathan Vandiar v Tait: Vandiar started nervously against Mumbai before swinging some big hits over the leg side, including one six off Lasith Malinga that went 87 metres into the crowd, to top-score with 71. Tait is similar to Malinga in action and likes to bowl full and fast like the Sri Lankan.

Stats and trivia

  • Centurion was the most batsman-friendly venue in IPL 2009, leading in both run-rate, 7.64 an over, and average, 27.46 per wicket.
  • Neil McKenzie is the most-capped Test cricketer among both teams, having played 58 Tests for South Africa. Lions' captain Alviro Petersen, with four Tests, is a distant second.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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