NSW v Victoria, CL, 1st semi-final, DelhiNSW vs VB - Victoria Face New South Wales in 1st Semi-final21-Oct-2009 02:54:00 GMT
New Delhi: When NSW Blues and Victoria Bushrangers go out to contest the first semifinal of the Champions League T20 event on Wednesday evening, they can be sure that there won't be much noise to distract them as they go about their business.
With the local team, Daredevils, and other IPL teams out of the event, there won't be much popular support at the Ferozeshah Kotla for the two Australian teams as they fight for a place in the title clash.
What will add to the rather unwanted and uncalled for sobriety of the occasion is the somnabulent Kotla pitch which has been pouring water on the aspirations of many a batsman who had come with hopes of setting the stadium on fire. And that will the challenge for the players - how to manage a decent T20 total on the low, slow track.
A cursory glance at the figures for the three venues where CL games have been staged shows how Kotla has played spoilsport (see graphic).
It has been a pain for the batsmen and a bore for the fans. The semifinal is not going to be any different and both NSW and Victoria will find it hard to put the ball away. Of course, it becomes double difficult to play strokes if you are batting second. So, the toss will be crucial; the team batting first will have a distinct advantage.
NSW skipper Simon Katich, speaking ahead of the semis, remarked that his team had learnt a lot about the Kotla pitch over the last few days.
"Batting second is really difficult, also because of the dew factor," he said.
NSW, who beat Victoria in the final of the Australian T20 championship, have looked the more rounded side in the ongoing competition and start favourites, something conceded by Victoria skipper Cameron White.
But these men know very well, this 'favourites' tag in a T20 match is just theory not to be taken seriously. Besides, let's remember that Victoria won the 'Big Bash' three straight times before losing to NSW this year. They are a redoubtable T20 unit.
White's men will have to contend with opener David Warner who has been in great form and looked murderous while cracking 40 off 16 balls in his last innings. NSW's bowling is also impressive with Brett Lee leading it.
Victoria Bushrangers: Cameron White (C), Rob Quiney, Brad Hodge, Aiden Blizzard, David Hussey, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade (WK), Jon Holland, John Hastings, Damien Wright, Bryce McGain,Andrew McDonald, Aaron Finch, Peter Siddle, Shane Harwood.
New South Wales: Simon Katich (C), David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Daniel Smith (WK), Nathan Hauritz, Nathan Bracken, Moises Henriques, Doug Bollinger, Dominic Thornely, Brett Lee, Ben Rohrer, Steve O'Keefe, Aaron Bird, Steven Smith, Stuart Clark
Wednesday October 21, 2009 (day/night)
Start time 20:00 local, 14:30 GMT