Lahore Lions (during practice) need to win big on Tuesday © IANS
Lahore Lions (during practice) need to win big on against Perth Scorchers to qualify for the semi-finals © IANS

With the equation on the points table pretty clear, Pakistan side Lahore Lions aim to demolish Perth Scorchers in the penultimate match of the group stage of Champions League T20 2014 (CLT20). Abhijit Banare looks at possible key battles between players  of this only interesting match on Tuesday.

Adam Voges, Craig Simmons vs Mohammad Hafeez: Doesn’t matter if Lahore Lions bowl first or second, grabbing the early momentum will be the key. In such a pressure situation, skipper Mohammad Hafeez won’t be keen to expose his other bowlers first up. With his experience and being the leader of the side, Hafeez will look to take the ball at the start of the innings. He has a good record in international cricket and also in the ongoing CLT20. He will look to stifle Voges and Simmons – both aggressive batsmen. Of course, Aizaz Cheema will be a key bowler from the other end as well, but if Hafeez succeeds then off-spinner Adnan Rasool from the other end can’t be ruled out either. See the CLT20 2014 points table here

Brad Hogg vs Lahore middle-order: Lahore’s batting has been like a chameleon all through this tournament. The different colours of inconsistencies have reflected in their overall results. But, overall, their middle-order batting has been ordinary except for the presence of Umar Akmal down the order. The chinaman bower Hogg who is difficult to score against will be eager to run through that batting line up the way Sunil Narine did. Hogg’s role may vary based on the match situation but he has been a regular feature of the ‘middle overs’ of a T20 format between 9-16 overs.

Umar Akmal vs Yasir Arafat: Arafat’s reputation of being a death overs bowler took a massive blow against MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in Perth’s previous match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Arafat missed his length regularly and only saw the ball sail to different parts of the ground. He will be against his fellow countryman Umar Akmal who is in good touch smashing it when it really matters.

Remember this is the margin with which Lahore have to beat Perth Scorchers to surpass CSK in the CLT20 points table.

Mitchell Marsh vs Aizaz Cheema: As mentioned earlier, Cheema will be a key part of Lahore’s bowling early in the innings. So far he has proved to be the reliable bowler who can find early breakthroughs. Mitchell Marsh is being noticed more often now thanks to his recent exploits. Knowing well how big a difference Marsh’s innings can make, Lahore will be focused on getting him out early. Cheema’s skills backed by disciplined performance by his fellow bowlers can help Lahore bag this prized scalp early.

Perth Scorchers vs Lahore fielding! An unusual and key battle, considering the pressure on the Pakistan side in this match, this could be a big difference. Their Lahore Lions fate against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was sealed thanks to sloppy fielding and dropped catches. When you have to win by a margin of 47 runs or chase in 15 overs, then fielding will make a huge impact. Their fielding has not shown any promise of improvement as the matches have progressed. If they continue to do so, then none of the above key battles or individual brilliant performance will matter.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on @AbhijitVirgo)