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Sep 04, 2010 at 10:29pm IST

Warriors: Gamechangers

New Delhi: The Warriors' players expected to draw huge crowds to the stadiums during the Champions League will no doubt be the host of South African internationals. But it's interesting to note that when the team won Standard Bank Pro20 this season, most of those internationals were away on national duty.

That's enough reason to conclude that besides well-known faces, the team has among its ranks players who can turn a match on its head. The prime example of that is the Warriors' skipper and wicketkeeper/batsman David Jocobs who led from the front and was the team's second-best run-getter with 162 runs at a strike rate of 127.55 in the Pro20 triumph this season.

Warriors' would look up to Colin Ingram, who scored 283 runs with a strike rate of 144.38 in the Pro20, to recreate that magic in the Champions League. But the return of international stars like Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher is set to smarten the batting card and give Jacobs and Ingram an opportunity to flex their muscles at will.

 Warriors: Gamechangers

The big blow would be the absence of Jacques Kallis due to his commitment to play for the IPL team RCB.

The big blow would be the absence of Jacques Kallis due to his commitment to play for the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore. That would hurt any side's chances. But the team's seasoned players on both bowling and batting fronts could compensate for the non-availability of world's best all-rounder.

Looking at the team's bowling resources, Warriors' Pro20 top wicket-taker Makhaya Ntini – with 12 wickets at an economy rate of 7.0 – is expected to spearhead the pace attack with a quality backup from Lonwabo Tsotsobe. The spin department is taken care of by mean spin-twins Johan Botha and Nicky Boje, who will be out to stifle the run-scoring.

Juan Theron's level-headedness in close encounters is not something every skipper has up his sleeves. He would like to take his Pro20 form – where he was second-best performer for Warriors with 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6.87 – into the Champions League.

It's difficult to pick key performers with such abundance of talent but if asked to do so, Ntini and South Africa's new T20 skipper Johan Botha come to mind among bowlers. But Juan Theron's death-bowling expertise can't be ignored and could prove to be a potent weapon.

The batting lineup's command is surely going to be in the hands of Colin Ingram. Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher won't be out of the frame either, along with the skipper David Jacobs.

So it's going to be Ntini, Botha and Theron in bowling and Ingram, Prince, Boucher and Jacobs among batsmen, whose performance may decide Warriors fate in the Champions League.

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