After chasing down a simple target of 93 in the match against Southern Express from Sri Lanka, Northern Knights get ready to face Lahore Lions in the third qualifier at Raipur. The first match was reduced to 10 overs, so the team would not be too fatigued to play two matches on consecutive days.
Northern Knights, champions in the HRV Twenty20 competition in New Zealand, have a good mix of youth and experience in their squad. Led by their captain Daniel Flynn, the team must be confident after their spirited performance in the first match against Southern Express. They bowled very well to restrict their opponents to 92/5 in the 10 overs. While chasing, Ken Williamson struck a brilliant 29-ball half century to guide his team to a well deserved victory. In their batting, Ken Williamson, BJ Watling and Daniel Flynn are the key to their success in their first appearance in the Champions League T20. Openers Daniel Harris and Daryl Mitchell would be expected to see them off to a solid start on which the experienced middle order can build on. Former New Zealand all rounder Scott Styris will add the valuable experience to the team. He can come in and guide his team to victory in tricky situations. In the bowling department, they have experienced pacers in the form of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Southee is a specialist in the death overs with lots of Yorkers and slower balls in his armoury.
Lahore Lions, led by Mohammed Hafeez, definitely have the bowling to do well in the sub continent conditions. The fact that all of their bowlers are looking to pick up wickets is helping the team’s cause. Both Wahab Riaz and Aizaz Cheema are bowling well. They are varying their pace and keeping the batsmen guessing. Riaz was very good at the death against Mumbai Indians and picked up key wickets including that of the dangerous Kieron Pollard. The spinners too are doing a good job in the middle over and keeping the run rate in check. Hafeez is leading the side very well and changing his bowlers intelligently. The batting is however a bit top heavy. Both the openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad got off to a good start against Mumbai but could not convert them into a big score. In the middle order Hafeez and Umar Akmal adds strength to the squad. However, the feeling is that Akmal is coming in too low in the batting order. Lions need to send him early so that he gets enough deliveries to make a big impact.
Lahore Lions will have a slight advantage due to the fact that they are well acquainted with sub continent conditions than their opponents. However in this format, it does not take much to change the complexion of a match. The winner of this match will take a big step to play in the main round. The match starts at 4 pm IST.
Northern Knights : KS Williamson, AP Devcich, DR Flynn*, DJ Harris, SB Styris, DJ Mitchell, BJ Watling†, SC Kuggeleijn, TG Southee, IS Sodhi, TA Boult
Lahore Lions : Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez*, Umar Akmal†, Umar Siddiq, Saad Nasim, Imran Ali, Aizaz Cheema, Adnan Rasool, Asif Raza, Wahab Riaz