Lions target another big-money scalp
Tuesday, September 21
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)
This is as good as a quarter-final. Lions have four points, but a slightly poorer net run-rate than Royal Challengers Bangalore, their opponents and the other contenders for the remaining semi-final slot from Group B. Bangalore have two points, but they need not worry about net run-rate either. Bangalore have Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid to thank, for they took their last game until the last ball, which ensured their net run-rate stayed higher.
With all those net run-rate complications put aside, this straight knockout promises to be a knockout in the other sense too. There will be South African fast bowlers, and they have all been bowling fast. Dale Steyn for Bangalore, Ethan O'Reilly and Craig Alexander for the Lions. Sitting in the dugout, when he watches his team-mates bat, Steyn could be looking at future international team-mates bowling.
Bangalore seem to have a good combination going, except for B Akhil, who neither bowled nor batted in their defeat to Mumbai Indians. At any rate, he was slated to bat in at No. 7. They could look to go with either the better batsman, Manish Pandey, or the specialist spinner, Nayan Doshi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: (probable) 1 Jacques Kallis, 2 Rahul Dravid, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Cameron White, 6 Virat Kohli, 7 B Akhil / Manish Pandey / Nayan Doshi, 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Anil Kumble (capt), 11 R Vinay Kumar
Lions have a difficult choice to make after Alexander, brought in ahead of the experienced Shane Burger, impressed everybody with his pace. They will hope to have Neil McKenzie fit and playing.
Lions (probable): 1 Alviro Petersen (capt), 2 Jonathan Vandiar, 3 Richard Cameron, 4 Vaughn van Jaarsveld, 5 Neil McKenzie / Jean Symes, 6 Robert Frylinck, 7 Zander de Bruyn, 8 Thami Tsolekile (wk), 9 Shane Burger / Craig Alexander, 10 Aaron Phangiso, 11 Ethan O'Reilly
Watch out for…
Those who have played under Anil Kumble know him to be a tough captain, severe on mistakes. He was just as severe on himself when his drop let Dwayne Bravo off the hook. That drop cost Bangalore the match. Watch out for a charged-up Kumble, looking to make up for that error.
Besides being a livewire in the field, Aaron Phangiso is a pretty clever Twenty20 bowler, which shows in his economy-rate of 6.30, the fifth-best among bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 10 overs in the tournament. A supreme athlete, he is a good squash player too.
Dale Steyn v Alviro Petersen Petersen, like other opener-captains in the tournament, has been Lions' most consistent batsman and highest run-getter. Steyn has been Bangalore's impact man. The tussle between these Test team-mates could decide the match.
Stats and Trivia
- Bangalore's Ross Taylor has hit 148 sixes in Twenty20 cricket, five ahead of the second-paced David Hussey, who has played 36 more innings than Taylor.
- Jacques Kallis has registered 17 scores of 50 or more, which is joint-third on the all-time list, behind Brad Hodge's 23 and Hussey's 19.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo