The CLT20 hasn’t produced a lot of exciting games thus far, and rain washing out three night games in a row has only proved to be a dampener. In the meanwhile, home side Highveld Lions will look to clinch their semi-final berth when they take on Yorkshire in the first game on Saturday. A victory for Lions would ensure that they join Sydney Sixers in the semis. Their opponents Yorkshire, on the other hand, will be knocked out in case they go down to Lions, and their defeat will have repercussions in the other teams as well. Considering the topsy-turvy points table, two of the three remaining IPL sides -- Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings – would also be knocked out
Team Lions analysis
Through their success in the tournament so far, Lions have proved that in T20 it’s not about big names, but firing at the right occasion. Even though they lost to a much stronger Sixers, Lions easily got the better of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings; both IPL sides would have fancied their chances against Lions at the start of the tournament. One of the key reasons for their two wins has been their consistent batting. Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie and opener Gulam Bodi have all been among the runs. For everything to fall in place, they now need skipper Alviro Petersen to get some runs.
Bowling is a bit of a concern for the Lions for sure. However, both Sohail Tanvir and Dirk Nannes are fairly experienced in this format of the game, and can be expected to come good against Yorkshire. If that happens, the task for Zander de Bruyn and Chris Morris, who have performed reasonably well, would become easier. The biggest plus for Lions in the bowling has been the form of Aaron Phangiso. The spinner has been the surprise package of the tournament, and is Lions’ highest wicket-taker so far. Jean Symes has also done a decent job with his left-armers.
Team Yorkshire analysis
The English county side had a terrible start to their tournament, as they were rolled over for 96 by Sydney Sixers. That heavy defeat was not only a huge mental setback for Yorkshire, but has also affected their run rate so badly that they need to win their remaining games emphatically to qualify for the semis. The batsmen need to recover from the horror. A lot will depend on Phil Jacques and Joe Root, who were the only ones to look good against Sydney. Of course, it would do no harm in skipper Andrew Gale as gets among the runs.
Their bowling has been better, but only slightly. Against the Sixers, they did not have runs to play with, still they could have done better than their eventual performance. Ryan Sidebottom would be the key again. He and Moin Ashraf suffered injuries in the last game, but skipper Gale would be hoping the duo is fit for the big game.
Lions begin as outright favourites, as Yorkshire would have to lift their game manyfold
--By A Cricket Analyst