Delhi Daredevils are set to clash with Highveld Lions at Durban on Thursday, October 25, in the first semi-final. Lions enjoy home advantage; however DD have played on the surface during the tournament and know what to expect. It is a batsman friendly wicket and although rain is predicted earlier in the day, the skies are expected to clear up to allow an uninterrupted game in the evening.
With two of their Group A matches washed out by rain, DD have had less time out in the middle than they would have wanted. They would need to play to their strength in Thursday’s crunch game and the battle will be more than half won if their batsmen find their stride. Sehwag must lead from the front and in Jayawardene, Pietersen and Taylor, he has the ammunition he needs. Phangiso versus Sehwag promises to be an interesting contest within a contest. The left-armer has troubled rival batsmen throughout the tournament and Sehwag would want to bury the ghost early.
Irfan Pathan could be DD’s bowling trump card in Durban’s overcast conditions. Agarkar, albeit expensive, has the uncanny knack of getting wickets and the match could be decided in the middle overs. Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Pietersen round off a bowling attack that has variety and penetration.
Lions began the tournament as underdogs in an opening game against Mumbai Indians and here they are, in the semi-finals. Their batting on Thursday could revolve around Pretorius who after his good showing in the last game is likely to replace de Bruyn. Bodi has displayed good form in the tournament and in Petersen Lions have a player with a calm head on his shoulders. Symes could prove crucial especially if Lions were to bat second.
In the bowling, Nannes and Tanvir will look to provide an early breakthrough although in Sehwag they will up against a man who is familiar with their wares. It will be interesting to see whether Morris and Pretorius can hold their nerve in the event of a batting assault by the DD top order. Phangiso’s performance on the night could be a make or break factor for Lions.
Admittedly, Lions are the home team, but have they reached their level of incompetence? This match will provide the answer.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.