Ahmedabad: The Lions from South Africa will look to go one up from their runners-up finish during last edition of Champions League T20 when they take on the Perth Scorchers in their opening group league game here on Monday.
Lions will be banking on captain Alviro Petersen, veteran Neil McKenzie, leggie Imran Tahir and left-arm seam duo of Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Pakistani speedster Sohail Tanvir to take them through to the semis.
Petersen will be partnered by Gulam Bodi who has had the experience of spending time in the dug-out of IPL team Delhi Daredevils. The duo will be followed by limited overs specialist Quinton de Kock and experienced McKenzie.
However, they will be missing the services of speedster Chris Morris, who will donning Chennai Super Kings' jersey for this tournament. This will be the first time that both Scorchers and Lions will be up against each other in the short history of Champions League T20.
The Lions, in last year's campaign, had beaten Mumbai Indians, CSK and Delhi Daredevils on their road to final while in the 2010-11 tournament, they had beaten Mumbai Indians and Guyana but failed to progress ahead.
Perth Scorchers had a forgettable inaugural season last year, registering just one victory, apart from being besieged by off-field problems. They will be banking on captain and veteran Simon Katich and limited overs specialist Adam Voges in the batting department.
Apart from Katich, Voges and Test discard Marcus North, there are no other big names in their batting line-up. The bowling department is spin-heavy and is led by 42-year-old Brad Hogg.
Teen sensation and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who made a sensational 98 on debut against England at Trent Bridge two months back, left-arm orthodox Michael Beer and offie Ashton Turner form the fulcrum of Scorchers' spin department, which might come a handy in the subcontinent conditions.
However, Scorchers' fast bowling department is a list of unknown entities. In Liam Davis, Joe Mennie and Burt Cockley, they have three relatively unheralded right arm pacers. While Jason Behrendorff and Joel Paris are two left-arm paceman who, despite their lack of experience, give the team the much-needed variety.
Overall, the team will bank on Katich, Voges and Hogg's experience to progress in a tight group comprising IPL champions Mumbai Indians, the fighting Rajasthan Royals, qualifiers' toppers Otago Wolves and last year's runner-up Lions.
Both the teams will have an eye on the skies as it rained on Saturday and has been overcast on Sunday.
Lions: Alviro Petersen (Captain), Gulam Bodi, Imran Tahir, Ethan O'Reilly, Dwaine Pretorius, Jean Symes, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Hardus Viljoen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (w-k), Neil McKenzie, Aaron Phangiso, Sohail Tanvir, Thami Tsolekile (w-k), Rassie van der Dussen.
Perth Scorchers: Simon Katich (c), Michael Beer, Hilton Cartwright, Liam Davis, Joe Mennie, Joel Paris, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Burt Cockley, Brad Hogg, Marcus North, Tom Triffitt (w-k), Adam Voges.