New Delhi: If home advantage counts for anything, then Highveld Lions stands to gain a lot being one of two home teams in the Champions League Twenty20 to be held in South Africa. The team from Johannesburg made their way into the second edition of the Champions League T20 by finishing runners-up in the Standard Bank Pro20.
This is their first entry into the Champions League T20 and despite being a team with not much international exposure, they have some quality players who can come handy in the shorter format of the game. The team has lots of all-rounders and can give any team a run for their money.
Lions will start their campaign when they face high-flying Mumbai Indians on September 10.
The Lions, with the amount of domestic experience they have, would exactly know how to make best use of the home conditions. Considering the fact Champions League is going to be played in South Africa, local support will surely be on their side.
Lions' batting will be led by skipper Alviro Peterson who has loads of experience in the domestic circuit. His batting style will suit this format of the game as he has all the strokes in the book, which holds him in good stead to shift gears at any time. He is surely the backbone of the team's batting lineup.
Other batsmen like Neil McKenzie will surely contribute to the team with their international experience. At 34, McKenzie is one of the senior members of the team and brings tremendous experience and ability having played for South Africa in Tests and limited-over internationals.
With the likes of Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Jonathan Vandiar - two of the most promising youngsters in the squad - in the Lions' squad, teams are in for a stiff challenge from the Highveld Lions.
As far as the bowling is concerned, Lions will rely generally on two bowlers - Craig Alexander and Ethan O'Rielly. O'Rielly is more experienced of the pair. Though he is not known for restricting the run-scoring, he has the happy knack of picking up important wickets for the team and Lions' skipper will surely back him to do that in the CL T20 as well.
Alexander can also be very useful in the death overs and could be the team's secret weapon. The plus point for the Lions is their all-rounders. Zander de Bryun and Robert Frylinck are two of the finest all-rounders coming up in the domestic circuit and they would have a huge responsibility to play the supporting role.
With little international experience, the odds may be against the Highveld Lions but in the shorter format of the game, one player can change the game and the Lions certainly have that talent.