Change of scenery may inspire Victoria

The first match of the second round of the tournament features Royal Challengers Bangalore, who finished second in Group C, and Victoria, second in Group D

Jamie Alter
Jamie Alter

Match facts

Thursday October 15
Start time 20.00 (14.30 GMT)
The first match of the second round of the Champions League features Royal Challengers Bangalore, who finished second in Group C, and Victoria, the runners-up of Group D.
Bangalore began with a close defeat to Cape Cobras at home but stormed into the second round by thumping Otago. Victoria won their opening game and progressed to the next stage despite losing to Wayamba, because they passed the total needed to ensure qualification on the basis of net run-rate. The Australian side took two points into the second round, because they beat Delhi who also qualified, but Bangalore did not.
Bangalore have an advantage over Victoria in terms of international talent as well as home advantage, but Victoria probably won't mind playing at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. After playing on two slow and low tracks in Delhi where stroke-making was not easy, Victoria should find themselves more at home in Bangalore, where the hosts crossed 180 in both their matches and the lowest first-innings score in three matches was 150.
Personnel-wise, Bangalore have the tremendous experience of Jacques Kallis, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid to fall back on while the likes of Ross Taylor and Robin Uthappa provide big-hitting power. Victoria will rely on Brad Hodge and David Hussey's domestic Twenty20 experience; Hodge's aggregate of 2341 runs at 41.80 in 70 matches is a record in Twenty20s and Hussey is another superbly skilled player with 1467 runs. They will also need Cameron White's captaincy to be inspirational to keep emotions under control and instill self-belief in high-pressure situations.

Watch out for...

Jacques Kallis' all-round performance against Otago ensured everything went to plan for Bangalore, and he was the rock around which the other stroke-makers sculpted their crowd-pleasing acts. Kallis' effort was typical: a solid half-century, which was overshadowed by more aggressive cameos from his team-mates, followed by an unspectacular but incisive spell with the new ball that broke the back of Otago's chase. Another one against a stronger Victoria will do plenty to boost Bangalore's semi-final chances.
Shane Harwood was Man of the Match against Wayamba, finishing with superb figures of 3 for 14 in four overs. Just when it seemed Wayamba could make the most of the one advantage of the initial slowness, the many wickets they had in hand, the batting unraveled, and Harwood played a major role. He snared two wickets in the 17th over and a third in the final, which also included a run-out. On a surface that will be more like what he plays on back home, with more pace and consistent bounce, Harwood could be a handful.
Victoria captain Cameron White has an added incentive to do well against Bangalore. Having played just a handful of games for them in the first IPL, he was totally overlooked in South Africa this year. White can hit a long ball and his variation of leg spin, while rather ordinary, has a knack of picking wickets.
Bangalore's spinners, Anil Kumble and Roelof van der Merwe, pose a big threat. Victoria struggled against Wayamba's left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and had a few concerns against the contrasting spin of Amit Mishra and Tillakaratne Dilshan earlier. Kumble and van der Merwe have been a solid tag-team duo with the ball, regularly applying pressure on batsmen. The pair, who rely on different speeds and trajectories and are both capable of stifling runs, will be especially dangerous under lights at the Chinnaswamy.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo