Hobart Hurricanes © PTI
Hobart Hurricanes will aim to bounce back after defeat in their last match © PTI

By Amit Banerjee

Sep 22, 2014

With eight matches being played in the group stage of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 tournament so far, the dust is starting to settle and the predictions for the teams entering the semis stage has already begun. In the ninth match of the tournament, the teams from Down Under – Hobart Hurricanes take on the Northern Knights.

It is in such circumstances that it becomes all the more important for the sides facing off in the ninth match of the tournament to register a victory in order to bolster their chances of qualifying for the next stage. The ongoing CLT20  has nearly reached the halfway mark and the teams have a fair idea of where they stand and what they need to do in order to qualify for the semi-finals. Hobart Hurricanes and Northern Knights face and a victory at this stage would be a major morale booster and would help ease the pressure off for both teams.

Both teams are currently tied at four points with a victory each in the matches played so far. Hobart however fall behind due to a defeat at the hands of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) earlier in the tournament. Both Hobart and the Northern Knights head to Raipur after registering memorable victories against the Cape Cobras. While the Knights displayed a tremendous batting performance against the Cobras, smashing 206 in their quota of 20 overs including a 140-run opening stand, the Hurricanes pulled-off a sensational victory in the last over of the match where Ben Dunk and Aiden Blizzard tore the Cobras bowling apart with their powerful strokes.

Northern Knights will walk into match with a slight mental edge given their clean record in the tournament so far, registering sweeping wins in the qualifiers before their power-packed performance against the Cape Cobras. In terms of the batting display, the winners of the latest edition of the HRV Cup have had an outstandingly consistent figure in the form of Kane Williamson, who is currently the leading runscorer in the tournament. He is well supported by fellow opening batsman Anton Devcich and the middle-order batsmen Daniel Flynn and Bradley-John Watling.

In terms of bowling, Tim Southee has been the destroyer-in-chief of the opposition batting ranks. Currently second in the list of leading bowlers with seven wickets, he will provide for an interesting contest against the Hobart batsmen. Trent Boult and Scott Styris are the other bowlers with terrific displays of bowling in the tournament so far for the Knights. Skipper Flynn   does not have much of a reason to complain, other than the loss of wickets in bundles that they had displayed in their previous outing.

The Hurricanes have greatly improved from their defeat against KXIP and refused to let that drain their spirit. Though their bowlers leaked runs against the Cobras, where the seventh-wicket partnership between Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander was worth 52 runs from 24 balls and allowed the Cobras to post a challenging total, it was really their batsmen who displayed the spirit of the side by taking the opposition bowlers to task. While Tim Paine’s form is a bit of a worry for the team, given his cheap dismissals in both games so far, it has been made up for by the explosive performances of opener Dunk and Blizzard.

Hobart skipper Paine will be hoping for a more consistent display from strike bowlers such as Ben Hilfenhaus, who leaked 49 runs from his quota of four overs, though he managed to get two wickets in return. Another thing likely to be addressed at the moment would be for the middle-order batsmen, other than Blizzard, to get their act straight after getting dismissed cheaply in the previous encounter, something that the Knights attack will be looking forward to.

Squads:

Hobart Hurricanes: Tim Paine (c&wk), Jonathan Wells, Evan Gulbis, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hifenhaus, Dom Michael, Sam Rainbird, Travis Birt, Doug Bollinger, Aiden Blizzard, Cameron Boyce, Joe Mennie, Ben Laughlin, Ben Dunk, Shoaib Malik

Northern Knights: Daniel Flynn (c), Graeme Aldridge, Jono Boult, Trent Boult, Anton Devcich, DJ Harris, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson, Brad Wilson

Time: 14.30 GMT | 20.00 local

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)