Despite two comprehensive victories in a row, New South Wales captain Simon Katich isn't ready to believe his team are favourites to win this inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20. After their emphatic 53-run victory in the opener against the Eagles on Friday, NSW returned today to crush a spirited Sussex by 35 runs.
"We were quietly confident and we had a good preparation going into the tournament but we still are actually an inexperienced team," Katich said. He felt NSW were still learning the ropes because they had played fewer Twenty20 games compared to the other teams in the competition. "If you look at the amount of matches played in this tournament by other teams we are still young."
The format is well suited for youngsters and 22-year-old Moises Henriques made sure his team wouldn't lose the plot at 41 for 2 after nine overs on the much-criticised low Feroz Shah Kotla pitch. Playing in the company of Phillip Hughes, Henriques rotated the strike frequently without resorting to the slam-bang approach he is known for.
"It is difficult to start off but you just to have to scramble on to begin with and get to the other end," Man-of-the-Match Henqriques said. Ed Joyce, Sussex's stand-in captain after Michael Yardy pulled out due to severe stomach cramps, admitted Henriques made the difference at a point in the game where the English side had felt they held the upper hand. "The only difference between the sides was Moises Henriques."
Henriques said it was important to play straight on such a slow pitch. "You have to try and present the bat as much as possible, hit it straighter and avoid the horizontal bat shots," Henriques said. Though the NSW batsmen found it difficult to find the boundary, especially in the final ten overs of their innings, Katich wasn't worried. "It is reassuring to know you have runs on the board on a wicket like that where at the back-end of the innings once the ball gets soft it is very, very difficult to get the boundary. The first 10 overs were crucial," Katich said.
Joyce was critical of his spinners and his batsmen for not standing up to the task. "Our bowling in general was very good but the spinners got the stick and that was probably the difference between the sides," Joyce said. "And we just didn't bat well."
Joyce admitted the pitch was quite low and it was difficult to play someone like Brett Lee at full throttle but added the case was same for both sides. "The best team generally wins and NSW were the best team."