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If you had blinked at the start of the Cape Cobras innings in the Champions League so far, you were likely to miss Herschelle Gibbs. His appearances have been fleeting - he's scored 0, 1 and 0 - but both the Trinidad & Tobago and Cape Cobras captains, and the batsman himself, were aware of Gibbs' game-breaking potential in Thursday's semi-final in Hyderabad.
Gibbs had opted out of the Cobras' game against Victoria in Bangalore after a security alert at the Chinnaswamy Stadium postponed the start of the game by 100 minutes. He did not leave the team hotel for personal security but appeared to be in brighter spirits today and was optimistic of having an impact in the semi-final.
"I have just been unlucky. I just tend to hit the ball from ball one," Gibbs said. "I like the semi-finals and finals irrespective of what tournament I'm playing. I just like the big moments and that brings the best out of me. It is going to be a good wicket and hopefully I can entertain the home crowd."
Gibbs, incidentally, is one of the major reasons the Cobras are playing the tournament as South African champions. He blasted 87 off 62 balls in the Pro20 final against the Eagles, more than half of his team's total of 147. His captain, Andrew Puttick, hoped that his best batsman could reproduce something similar. "Herschelle is in bit of poor run, but we know if it is his day know he can win us the game," Puttick said.
Gibbs, however, has had a low-key season so far and had an unproductive ICC World Twenty20 as well, scoring only 114 runs in six matches. He also had a poor run at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, the home ground for his IPL team, the Deccan Chargers. In four innings there during the 2008 IPL, Gibbs made only 67 runs, with a top-score of 47. The Cobras will be hoping for a dramatic turnaround tomorrow.
"We know the quality of Herschelle," Ganga said on the eve of the game against the Cape Cobras. "He has not been on song in recent games but in an important match he might come good, and we are prepared for that."