Scorchers up against qualifiers Otago in CLT20
Jaipur: Their respective openers washed out due to heavy rain, Australia`s Perth Scorchers and in-form qualifiers from New Zealand Otago Volts would look to open their campaign on a winning note when the two sides clash in a Champions League Twenty20 match, here on Wednesday.
Rain had the final say as both the matches involving the two teams were called off after huge puddles on the outfield turned the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad into almost a lake last evening.
The abandonment meant the two teams got two points each from their respective matches. It would be hard to tell whether both teams were happy with the split points.
Otago made their Champions League debut on the back of some impressive performances during the qualification stage of the tournament.
Led admirably by Brendon McCullum, they have shown to be deserving candidates for promotion with an emphatic eight-wicket win over Faisalabad Wolves, an equally convincing six-wicket victory over Kandurata Maroons and a dominating five-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad to confirm their participation in the Champions League.
The Scorchers, who had a forgettable inaugural season last year registering just one victory apart from being besieged by off-field problems, would be looking to put their best foot forward against the New Zealand side whose confidence would be sky high coming into the league stage.
Scorchers 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, led by 42-year-old Brad Hogg, is spin-heavy.
Teen sensation and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar who made a brilliant 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 handy in the subcontinent conditions.
However, Scorchers' fast bowling unit 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-armers 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, Otago and last year's runner-up Lions.
For Otago, the McCullum brothers -- Brendon and Nathan -- have played key roles in the team's success in the qualification stage. While skipper and batting mainstay Brendon has shone with the bat, Nathan has turned in decent bowling performances to help the team's cause.
Otago's heavy reliance on McCullum brothers would be a cause of concern for the team.
The side would look for more notable contributions from opener Neil Broom, Hamish Rutherford, who have been decent nonetheless so far.
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 (wk), Adam Voges.
Otago Volts: Brendon McCullum (c & wk), Nicholas Beard, Michael Bracewell, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Mark Craig, Derek de Boorder, Jacob Duffy, James McMillan, James Neesham, Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Ryan ten Doeschate, Neil Wagner.