Auckland ready for clash with Titans in CLT20
Durban: Spirited to the core and unbeaten so far, qualifiers Auckland Aces would be up against a tough challenge when they take on South African side Titans in their second Group A match of the Champions League Twenty20 here tomorrow.
Having defeated IPL champions Kolkata knight Riders last night, Auckland is a team on a roll given that it had won both its qualifying matches as well.
Devoid of any big stars, the Gareth Hopkins-led team has been a surprise package with its gritty performances. Titans are also interestingly a similar unit and it should be a battle of equals.
But being the home team, Titans will have the slight edge even though Auckland, making their CLT20 debut this year have also adjusted remarkably after arriving quite early for the tournament.
"We`ve come from winter back home and it required adapting to the conditions here before the tournament started," Auckland opener Lou Vincent has said.
An enterprising batting line-up has been Auckland`s strength and this was revealed in match against KKR with good contributions coming from the top order even though the target to chase was not huge.
Experienced all-rounder Azhar Mahmood was the star performer with both the bat and ball. He would be a crucial player for the team as it makes its progress along with Vincent and Martin Guptill.
The Titans, on the other hand, is also a team which relies on joint efforts instead of individual brilliance given the absence of big names.
The only match they have played so far in the event was the tournament-opener against Perth Scorchers. It was a clinical performance with both the bat and ball.
Jacques Rudolph shone at the top with a brilliant unbeaten 83 that set the foundation for a big score and the bowlers did the rest of the job, stifling Perth batsmen with incisive spells in familiar conditions.
Auckland: Gareth Hopkins (captain), Andre Adams, Azhar Mahmood, Michael Bates, Bradley Cachopa, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Anaru Kitchen, Mitchell McClenaghan, Bruce Martin, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Colin Munro, Lou Vincent.
Titans: Martin van Jaarsveld (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, Cornelius de Villiers, Paul Harris, Heino Kuhn, Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati, Mangaliso Mosehle, Rowan Richards, Jacques Rudolph, Alfonso Thomas, Roelof van der Merwe, David Wiese.
Match starts: 5 pm IST.