Rampaging Sixers look to seal CLT20 final berth


A rampaging Sydney Sixers would look to maintain their winning momentum and book a berth in the final when they take on local side Titans in the second semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20 here tomorrow.

Sixers are the only side to have won all their four group matches and they are the most all-round team in the tournament with balance in batting, bowling and fielding departments.

The Australian side had virtually spanked all their opponents in the first three Group B matches and the only time they had been put to test was when they clashed with last year's champions Mumbai Indians in their last league game.

That match was played without the recent World Twenty20 Player-of-the-Tournament Shane Watson who had been called back by his Board to prepare for the home series against South Africa.

But in that match also, their bowlers, who have been in impressive form, stifled the star-studded Mumbai batting order to restrict them to 124 and ensure that the Sixers remain unbeaten and go into tomorrow's semifinals high on confidence.

Watson and Michael Lumb have been in explosive form at the top of the other, giving two 50-plus stands for the opening wicket in three matches they were together. The middle-order of Nic Maddinson, captain Brad Haddin and Steven Smith have been supporting the openers well. Moises Henriques has also been in fine form, showing what a fine all-rounder he has been in the shortest format.

The only weak point, if there is any, for the Sixers is the spin department with their main slow bowler Simon O'Keefe having got just one wicket from the three matches he had played. But, the Sixers have relied heavily on their pacers to get the results and they have been doing just that.

The Titans, however, will have the advantage of crowd support as they are playing at their home ground tomorrow.

The South African side have a good bowling attack with the likes of Alfonso Thomas, Ethy Mbhalati, Cornelius de Villiers and Roelof van der Merwe among the wickets but their weak point is the inconsistent middle-order which would be put to severe test by the Sixers pacers.

The top-order of Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids have been giving them good start most of the time but the middle order has not been able to capitalise on them.

Captain Martin van Jaarsveld has been inconsistent coming either at number four or five, so also Farhaan Behardien, Heino Kuhn or David Wiese.

Their batting weakness was exposed to the full in their penultimate league match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Cape Town where they were all out for just 89 in 16.4 overs while chasing a massive 189 for a win, thereby breaking their winning momentum.

Their last league match against Delhi Daredevils was washed out without a ball being bowled and the Titans will have to address the chinks in their batting armoury against the top-class pace-heavy bowling attack of Sixers if they have to have any chance of beating the most impressive side in the tournament tomorrow.

The Teams (From) : Sydney Sixers: Brad Haddin (capt; wk), Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Michael Lumb, Nathan McCullum, Nic Maddinson, Ian Moran, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Rohrer, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Dominic Thornely.
Titans: Martin van Jaarsveld (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Cornelius de Villiers, Paul Harris, Heino Kuhn (wicketkeeper), Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati, Mangaliso Mosehle, Rowan Richards, Jacques Rudolph, Alfonso Thomas, Roelof van der Merwe, David Wiese.
Match Starts at 9pm IST.

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