Saturday, September 18
Start time 13.30 (1130 GMT)
It has been a case of what-if for Central Districts so far in the Champions League. In their opening game, they had Chennai Super Kings in trouble at 40 for 3 in the ninth over, but lost the advantage on a Durban pitch that assisted the bowlers. In their second game, they had Victoria needing 66 from 39 balls after David Hussey departed, but were blown away by Aaron Finch. This after Central Districts captain Jamie How had inspired his side from 3 for 2 to 165 for 5.
Contrast this with Warriors who were in a similar situation in their last game, also against Victoria. Hussey had been dismissed with 65 needed from 36 balls. Rusty Theron then snuffed out three wickets in the space of eight deliveries as Warriors sealed the match ruthlessly.
That has been the difference between the two sides ahead of their Port Elizabeth clash. Both teams have created chances; however, while Warriors have found someone to finish the job, Central Districts have allowed their opposition to get out of tight spots.
How has found little support with the bat, while Davey Jacobs, the Warriors' captain, has the comfort of having someone with Mark Boucher's class to shore up the middle order. Central Districts' most penetrative bowler has been Doug Bracewell, who has gone at nearly eight an over for his three wickets, while Theron has taken six wickets at an economy rate of 5.62 runs.
Given the gulf in current form between the two sides, it is hard to see Central Districts troubling the Warriors too much as the home team look to seal a semi-final berth.
Warriors should go in with the same combination that has won them their first two games comfortably.
Warriors (probable) - 1 Davey Jacobs (capt), 2 Ashwell Prince, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 Justin Kreusch, 5 Mark Boucher, 6 Johan Botha, 7 Craig Thyssen, 8 Nicky Boje, 9 Rusty Theron, 10 Makhaya Ntini, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Central Districts were forced to make changes to their combination against Victoria and will hope to have their first-choice players back in the fray. They have tried out 14 players so far, with only Ben Wheeler - who has played all of two first-class matches - yet to get a game.
Central Districts (probable) - 1 Peter Ingram, 2 Jamie How (capt), 3 George Worker, 4 Mathew Sinclair, 5 Bevan Griggs/Tim Weston (wk), 6 Kieran Noema-Barnett, 7 Brendon Diamanti, 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Mitchell McClenaghan/Seth Rance, 11 Michael Mason
Watch out for…
Peter Ingram has lasted eleven deliveries in the tournament, made six runs, and survived a dropped catch. His twin failures have only increased the pressure on his opening partner How, and there can be no better time than this do-or-die clash for an Ingram knock that would make his idol, Virender Sehwag, proud.
Ashwell Prince has done marginally better than Ingram, but he looked scratchy against Victoria and was involved in the run-out of the blazing Jacobs. While Prince is not known to blaze away, a Twenty20 strike-rate of 106.80 from 22 innings does not do justice to a player of his class.
How v Theron: A good start from How is crucial to Central Districts' batting fortunes, as was evident against Victoria. Theron has been outstanding with the ball for Warriors, snaring two wickets in the opening over against Wayamba and then running through Victoria's middle order.
Stats and Trivia
Johan Botha has taken the most wickets, 54, among the 13 bowlers who have economy rates of under six runs an over in T20s.
Mark Boucher, who holds the Test record for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper, stands joint-tenth on the list for T20s with 47 dismissals.
"We set ourselves a target of being one of the best franchises in the world by 2011 and we've got the opportunity now." Johan Botha says the Warriors are aiming high
"We proved we can compete with the best sides in the world. We will concentrate on getting over the line in the next two matches." Jamie How prefers to look at the positives after two consecutive defeats