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NSW favourites to bounce back

Cricinfo previews the League A clash between New South Wales and Somerset in Hyderabad

Simon Katich cuts on his way to 51, New South Wales v Queensland, Sydney, November 13, 2005

Simon Katich has not had much opportunity to bat in the Champions League  •  Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Match facts

Sunday October 18
Start time 16.00 (10.30 GMT)

Big Picture

Somerset have depended on Trinidad & Tobago's enterprising style of play to get this far in the Champions League. They would have been eliminated if T&T had not beaten Deccan Chargers in the group stage, and they would have been knocked out had Kieron Pollard's haymaker not flattened New South Wales in the second round. At the moment ,Somerset only have an outside, and mathematical, chance of making the semi-finals and that will again hinge on T&T beating Eagles in the final match of League A.
All four League A teams are in the running for semi-final berths, although in varying degrees. T&T are the most comfortably placed, with four points and a healthy net run-rate, but should they lose to Eagles after NSW beat Somerset, then three teams will be tied on four points and it will come down to which side has the better net run-rate. That scenario, however, excludes Somerset who can go through only if they beat NSW and the Eagles lose, leaving T&T on six points and the rest level on two each, before being separated by net run-rate. If NSW win on Sunday, their semi-final berth wont be set in stone but they'll have an extremely strong chance.
Leaving the permutations aside, Somerset's task is both simple and difficult - they need to beat NSW, by a margin as large as possible. It's a formidable challenge for, apart from the quality of their opponents, Somerset have problems of their own. Their batting order, depleted by Marcus Trescothick's departure, has failed to fire: they've scored 157 for 9, 106 and 132 for 8, and their top-scorer, Zander de Bruyn with 64 runs, is No. 18 on the tournament list. Their bowling has been reasonably efficient, but not outstanding, and they will need their batters to give them an above-average total to defend against a powerful NSW line-up.
NSW stormed into the second round after two convincing victories in the first and were on the verge of another success against T&T until Pollard blitzed them. They are a formidable side despite losing three first-choice players - Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken - even before the tournament began. They possess a strong batting unit: Phillip Hughes is the third-highest run-scorer of the tournament with 146 runs at 73 (after Ross Taylor and JP Duminy), while David Warner and Moises Henriques are in the top ten. Their bowling attack has been the best in the tournament. It took an astonishing 18-ball 54 from Pollard to beat them. Can Somerset produce something as extraordinary?

Watch out for...

Wes Durston came into Somerset's XI only because Trescothick flew home and he was their best batsman in the loss against the Eagles. Batting at No. 7, Durston had the advantage of unfamiliarity and he cracked 57 off 32 balls to lift a flagging innings. He won't have that unknown quality against NSW though and will be challenged to repeat his performance.
Craig Kieswetter, the 21-year old batsman, came into the tournament having scored over 1000 runs in the first-class season for Somerset. He's been disappointing so far in India, though, aggregating only 17 runs after three matches. He was given the added responsibility of opening in Trescothick's absence against Eagles, in addition to his wicketkeeping duties, and it's likely he'll be asked to do the same against NSW.
The Hughes-Warner opening combination added 121 against T&T, the highest partnership for any wicket in the tournament. Both left-handers are capable of sending the new ball speeding to the boundary and they do a fine job of setting up the innings for the long-handled skills of Henriques. NSW's batting has been so accomplished that their captain, Simon Katich, has batted only once in three matches.
Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger have consistently given NSW excellent starts with the new ball. Lee's taken only a wicket in each of his games but his economy-rate - 3.54 per over - is staggering and would have been excellent in a one-day international, never mind a Twenty20 thrash. Bollinger has conceded only 4.66 an over and an economical and incisive start on Sunday could dash Somerset's hopes.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo