Lions v Mumbai Indians, Group B, CLT20, Johannesburg October 13, 2012

Will David stun Goliath again?

Match facts

October 14, 2012
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)

Big Picture

If you are a powerful IPL franchise, the Champions League T20 is a cushy place to be. You can have the tournament rules changed midway to increase the number of overseas players in your XI from four to five.

You finish fourth in the qualification tournament for the CLT20 2012, which used to offer direct entry only to the first three IPL sides. The format changes to accommodate a fourth direct entrant from the IPL. Why go through the uncertainties of qualification? So, here are Mumbai Indians, defending champions, straight into the main draw, and will meet home franchise Lions in a repeat of the opening clash of the 2010 edition, also held in South Africa.

That game had been viewed by some as a David v Goliath clash of superstar-laden Mumbai Indians with domestic strugglers Lions. And David ended up winning the supposed mismatch, as Lions rustled up 186 and stopped Mumbai Indians nine runs short, despite Sachin Tendulkar's 69. Back then, Lions had laboured without a trophy for so long that their home crowd at the Wanderers cheered for Tendulkar and his side for most of the match. What will their reaction be tomorrow?

Lions retain a few core players from the team that played in the 2010 edition, and have been bolstered by the addition of international quicks Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir. Mumbai Indians, as always, have an array of star players, and easily look the stronger side on paper.

Watch out for...

A stunned Premadasa Stadium watched Lasith Malinga disappear for six after six against Marlon Samuels in the final of the World Twenty20. Malinga going for 54 runs in four overs in a crunch match was hard to even imagine, let alone witness it. He has been one of the faces of Mumbai Indians and had a major part to play in their run to the Champions League title in 2011. It is hard not to expect a comeback from Malinga.

Ethan O'Reilly, the Lions fast bowler, should have had Tendulkar second ball of his spell in the 2010 game, only for a strong lbw appeal to be turned down. He is quick, he is sharp, and he gets bounce.

Stats and trivia

  • Among the IPL teams, Mumbai Indians have the best win-loss ratio in the Champions League, along with Chennai Super Kings
  • Mumbai Indians scored at the fastest rate in the previous edition of the tournament held in South Africa in 2010, followed by Lions


"He will be keen to make a point and he definitely can. The international guys who play a lot more against him may have figured out a way to keep him away but even then, there are domestic players who have never seen him before. He is still a seriously good strike option. I would still always give him the ball in the last over, especially if I had to defend 10 runs or less."
Shaun Pollock, the Mumbai Indians bowling coach, on Malinga

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo