RCB to take on Lions in virtual quarterfinal
Johannesburg: Anil Kumble`s Royal Challengers Bangalore would have to quickly get over the disappointment of a two-run defeat to Mumbai Indians as they take on Highveld Lions in a must-win Champions League Twenty20 Group B match.
The Bangalore side had put up spirited performance against Mumbai but Sachin Tendulkar`s men snatched a narrow victory in the and now tomorrow`s encounter has become a virtual quarterfinal for Kumble`s team.
Experienced South African Jacques Kallis has returned to the RCB squad after recovering from a back injury, while captain Rahul Dravid is also in fine touch and the duo have to give the Indian Premier League side a solid opening against the Lions.
Virat Kohli, who regained some lost form with a fluent 47 against Mumbai, and their New Zealand import Ross Taylor`s role are also going to be crucial in the middle overs on the New Wanderers pitch.
While Kallis` return is also good news for the team`s bowling department, pacer Dale Steyn would be more than eager to capitalise on home conditions to help the side book a semifinal berth in the show-piece tournament.
RCB`s spin attack would be handled by none other than legendary tweaker Kumble.
On the other hand, Captain Alviro Petersen, who cracked an unbeaten 38-ball 57 in their last match against Guyana, and Richard Cameron are the mainstay of Lions` batting order.
The team don`t have a heavyweight bowling department but have come up with some good performances in the 10-team event.
Pacers Robert Frylinck and Ethan O`Reilly are the two bowlers the RCB batsmen should be cautious of.
Meanwhile, a low profile Guyana will lock horns with South Australia, which has already qualified for semifinal, in another Group B encounter of the day at the same venue.
West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan is the lone big name in the Guyana batting line-up but not the only who can deliver when the team is in trouble.
Batsmen such as Steven Jacobs and Sewnarine Chattergoon are capable of coming out with good knocks but their lower middle-order has been inconsistent in the tournament so far, which is the main reason of their suffering.
The bowling order consists of Lennox Cush, Esuan Crandon and Devendra Bishoo, among others, but they would certainly have a tough task in hand against South Australia.
South Australia batsmen, including captain Michael Klinger and his opening partner Daniel Harris, are in good touch and would be happy to get some batting practice against Guyana tomorrow.
The match would also present them with an opportunity to test their bench-strength before they enter the knock-out stage of the tournament.
Shaun Tait and Gary Putland are giving the team early breakthroughs in bowling, while Harris has also proved his worth with the ball by rendering some economical service in the middle overs.