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Preview

Victoria expect tough fight from Cobras

Victoria sit right on top of League B with four points after their convincing win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, their opening league-stage game

Herschelle Gibbs walks off after scoring a duck, Chennai Super Kings v Deccan Chargers, IPL, 29th match, East London, May 4, 2009

Will the real Herschelle Gibbs please stand up?  •  AFP

Match facts

Saturday October 17
Start time 16.00 (10.30 GMT)
Victoria sit on top of League B with four points after their convincing win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, their opening league-stage game. They will be up against South Africa's Cape Cobras, who racked up the tournament's highest score - 193 - in their previous encounter.
If the Cobras - now on two points - win tomorrow, they will knock Bangalore out of the tournament. If they lose, Victoria go straight through to the semi-finals and there is the possibility of a three-way tie for the second semi-final slot. The second match of the double-header, between Delhi Daredevils and Bangalore, and the final league game (Cobras v Delhi) will then assume added significance.
The ever impressive JP Duminy helped Cobras prevail over Bangalore in a tense chase in their opening group game and captain Andrew Puttick led by example against Otago, recording the tournament's first century. That was an all-round performance but Cobras will be up against much tougher opposition tomorrow and will be returning after a week's break, lengthy by this tournament's standards.
Victoria have been led by their bowlers, in particular the medium pacers. Shane Harwood, Clint McKay and Andrew McDonald have been nagging, accurate and taking wickets at regular intervals, and teams haven't really been allowed to blaze away against them. On the slow pitch in Delhi, they restricted the teams to 98 and 118; in relatively better batting conditions in Bangalore, they kept the home team down to 127. It should make for an interesting contest between Cobras' flamboyance and Victoria's discipline.

Watch out for...

Herschelle Gibbs: With one run from two games, including a first-ball duck, you know there's a big innings around the corner. Fortunately, Cobras haven't really missed his presence so far. He will be expected to retain his place at the top.
Andrew McDonald: The slow-medium bowler is currently the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with eight wickets at a miserly economy rate of 5.50. Against Bangalore, he maintained a tight line and bowled his sly off-cutters to keep the batsmen in check. More importantly, he got the crucial wicket of crowd favourite Ross Taylor very early in his innings.
Justin Ontong: Puttick may have hogged the headlines against Otago with his century but Ontong's assault in that same match was by no means inferior. He cleared his back leg and biffed four sixes in his 14-ball 39. It will be interesting to see if he can get on top of Victoria's accurate seam attack.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo