Both Sydney Sixers and Highveld Lions will head into match against each other high on confidence. After all, they have won both their earlier games in the tournament so far, beating more-fancied teams, and that too quite convincingly. Sixers got the better of Chennai Super Kings in their opening encounter before blowing away Yorkshire without dropping a sweat. Similarly, Lions easily overcame the Mumbai Indians challenge before getting past Chennai as well with a competent performance. Both the Sixers and Lions would be keen to continue their unbeaten run.
Team Lions analysis
Lions have been excellent with the bat so far. Age hasn’t been a factor in Neil McKenzie’s performance. The veteran cricketer has been pivotal in the middle order. The others in the side have also come good. Gulam Bodi played very well against CSK, which was among the key reasons for their win. Earlier, against Mumbai, upcoming talent Quinton de Kock also excelled against quality international bowlers Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh. Lions should thus be confident of putting up another impressive effort. Of course, it would help if skipper Alviro Petersen also gets among the runs.
Lions need some improvements in the bowling. Left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir hasn’t been able to get the early strikes he is known for. That must change. Dirk Nannes also needs to show his worth. At the same time, the performance of left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso will encourage the Lions. He has been highly efficient in the middle overs.
Team Sixers analysis
Sixers might still be fuming over the fact that all-rounder Shane Watson will not be available after the clash against Lions. But, the team must look ahead. They will have Watson’s services for the game so they must look to utilise him to the fullest. They have some in-form players, with Michael Lumb coming good against Yorkshire, and Moises Henriques performing well with both bat and ball.
Sixers’ strength definitely lies in the bowling department. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, in particular, have proved to be a rather deadly combination. It would help if Josh Hazlewood gets among the wickets, and if Steven Smith too can deliver with the ball. Difficult to pick a favourite since both the sides are so well-matched.
--By A Cricket Analyst