Kusal Perera © Getty Images
Kusal Perera holds the key and he’ll need to get off to a fiery start © Getty Images

By Sameer Jha

Sep 15, 2014

Lahore Lions (LL) will face Southern Express (SE) in the fifth qualification match of Champions League Twenty 20 (CLT20) on Tuesday at Raipur. LL will look to book a place in the tournament proper with a convincing win, SE will look to salvage some pride by securing at least a single victory.

Both teams put  up ordinary performances in their previous match, though in different departments. The Lions were bundled out for 98, and no batsman except for Saad Nasim (who scored 58) managed to get their score into double figures. On the other hand, Southern Express put up a decent show with the bat, but failed miserably with the ball as Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey combined beautifully to put up a match-winning opening stand of 139.

Both teams came into the tournament as underdogs – and while LL showed that they have the potential to roar by defeating two-time CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the second qualifier, SE did complete justice to their tag. To be fair to them, the Sri Lankan side was without the services of Lasith Malinga – who had led the side to victory in Sri Lanka’s domestic T20 tournament, and Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had opted out of the tournament due to personal reasons.

Even if the Lions win, they will not be guaranteed a place in the tournament proper, as Northern Knights and Mumbai Indians who’ll play later in the day, will be aware of the net run-rate scenarios later in the day. The likes of international Pakistani player like Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed and Umar Akmal – who batted with a lot of determination against Mumbai, were dismissed rather tamely for a combined score of eight runs against Northern Knights. 35-year-old Aizaz Cheema has been the only player who has performed well in both games for the side.

For Express, Kusal Perera – whose batting is reminiscent of retired Sri Lankan batting legend Sanath Jaysuriya – holds the key and he’ll need to get off to a fiery start. The encounter promises to be an exciting one, and even though the Lions have more international players, it is hard to pick favorites considering the unpredicatable nature of the format. Both teams will be hurting from the embarrassing defeats they faced in their last game, and will look to soothe their wounds by an emphatic victory.

Squads:

Lahore Lions: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Siddique Khan, Mohammad Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Salman Ali, Asif Raza, Mohammad Mustafa Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Imran Ali, Saad Naseem, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor.

Southern Express: Kusal Janith Perera, Danushka Gunatilake, Angelo Perera, Jehan Mubarak (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perara, Prasanna Seekuge, Ishan Jayaratne, Farvees Maharoof, Kasun Madushanka, Yasoda Lanka, Charith Jayampathi, Sachith Pathirana, Sandaken Lakshen, Tillakaratne Sampath.

Time: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Sameer Jha is a reporter at CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha)