Lahore Lions    IANS
Lahore Lions need to beat the Perth Scorchers by a margin of 47 runs or with 33 balls to spare IANS

Lahore Lions face Perth Scorchers in their final encounter and the penultimate match of the group stage of the ongoing Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2014 where they face a must-win situation if they are to qualify for the semi-finals. Lahore need to beat Perth Scorchers either by a 47-run margin or with 33 balls to spare if they are to overtake Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in terms of net run-rate. Amit Banerjee takes a look at the eleven players that Lahore are likely to field for the upcoming match.

Top-order: Lahore will most likely retain the tried and tested opening combination of Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad. Shehzad has been in an average form in the tournament, barring his innings against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in which he scored a quickfire 59 from 42 balls that got Lahore off to a good start. Though Jamshed does not boast of any innings that stands out from the rest in the tournament so far, this opening duo has fired in crucial encounters in the past.

The consistent duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal will occupy the NO 3 and 4 slots respectively. Hafeez struck a fluent 67 in Lahore’s clinical win against Southern Express. He is also handy with the ball, though he his action has been reported by the on-field umpires in the match against the Dolphins. Akmal is the most consistent batsman for the team by far, scoring 163 runs in five innings making him the fourth-highest run-getter in the CLT20 so far. His unbeaten 73 off 45 deliveries helped Lahore post a total of 164 against the Dolphins.

Middle-Order: The middle-order is most likely to comprise of Agha Salman, Saad Nasim and Asif Raza. Salman did not impress in the match against Dolphins, his first in the tournament so far. One failure would not justify writing him off from the upcoming match, given his all-round performances in the Pakistani domestic circuit.

Nasim is three places behind Akmal on the highest run-getters list, scoring 138 runs in the five innings that he has played in the tournament so far. Nasim’s 43 against Dolphins helped form an 82-run partnership against Dolphins that helped his side recover from a stage where they were reeling at 34 for four. Asif Raza credit to a place in the side comes mainly from his exploits with the ball. In the match against KKR, he managed to take the wicket of Andre Russell while conceding a total of ten runs.

Lower-Order: Wahab Riaz, Imran Ali, Adnan Rasool and Aizaz Cheema would form the lower order of the Lahore Lions. Cheema has been the most consistent player in the team on a regular basis other than Umar Akmal. He was recently eclipsed by Sunil Narine as the leading wicket-taker in the series, helped by his performances against Southern Express and Northern Knights. Though he was expensive against the Dolphins in the previous encounter, he will dominate the minds of the Perth batsmen.

Rasool enter the field on a cautious note, being the other bowler in the team alongside Hafeez to get reported for suspicious bowling action. Riaz has been fairly consistent in the series so far, taking six wickets so far with an average of 23.

Likely XI: Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez (c), Umar Akmal (wk), Agha Salman, Saad Nasim, Asif Raza, Wahab Riaz, Imran Ali, Adnan Rasool, Aizaz Cheema

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)