The Champions League T20 2012 will kick off with South Africa's Nashua Titans taking on Australia's Perth Scorchers at Centurion on Saturday. The Titans qualified for the tournament by winning the domestic T20 competition in the country. They beat the Lions by 45 runs in a one-sided final. The Scorcher meanwhile qualified by making it to the Big Bash League final where they lost to Sydney Sixers by 7 wickets.
The Titans would have been a much stronger team had Morne Morkel, Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis not chosen to play for their respective IPL franchises. Also, the pull-out of AB de Villiers from the tournament due to an injury was a big blow to them. However, they still have fast bowler Alfonso Thomas. Thomas, who plays for Pune Warriors India in the IPL, has plenty of experience and his bowling on the familiar wickets holds the key for the Titans. Then there are Jacques Rudolph and the explosive David Weise from whom the team has high expectations.
The Scorchers, on the other hand, have a lot of star attractions, some really effective T20 players. Mitchell Marsh is one of them. The 20-year-old allrounder scored the maximum runs in the Big Bash League this season with 309 runs at an average of 51.50. The Scorchers are also rich in experience as they have the likes of Marcus North, the captain of the team, Simon Katich, England allrounder Paul Collingwood, Herschelle Gibbs and Brag Hogg, who is still playing T20s for Australia, in their squad.
Looking at both the teams, the Scorchers seems to have the upper hand thanks to the presence of some seasoned players in their team. However, it's an unpredictable format and picking a winner is not such a good idea.
With a local team featuring in the match, the Supersport Park in Centurion is expected to be packed to the rafters. Since there is very little enthusiasm about the tournament with many people calling for it to be scrapped, it's important the opener gets off to a flier. Both teams should be aware of it.
Titans: 1 Henry Davids, 2 Heino Kuhn (wk), 3 Roelof Van Der Merwe 4 Faf du Plessis, 5 Jacques Rudolf 6 Martin van Jaarsveld (c), 7 Farhaan Behardien, 8 David Wiese, 9 Alfonso Thomas 10 Ethy Mbhalati 11 Eden Links
Scorchers: 1 Herschelle Gibbs 2 Marcus North (C), 3 Luke Ronchi, 4 Mitchell Marsh, 5Paul Collingwood 6 Simon Katich 7 Nathan Rimmington 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile 9 Brad Hogg 10 Michael Beer 11 Ben Edmonson