Street-smart Tuskers up against the Tigers!
Karnataka Tuskers to win!
It's a battle between two of the newest sides in the T10 League. While the Tuskers started on a confident note with a convincing win against the Bulls, the Tigers were on the wrong end of a last-over finish against the Gladiators. Amla's men don't look like a strong side on paper due to the lack of star value in their squad. That they are missing a few key players to national duties makes it even tougher. Despite all this, the Tuskers appeared a quietly confident outfit that knows how to put a collective performance on the field. Amla at the toss didn't appear ruffled by having to bat first in what had been a chasing trend and his team truly justified his belief by bucking the trend.
The Tigers might have lost their first game of the season but they were extremely competitive till the very end. One of their biggest strengths is their batting ammunition which is enviable, to say the least. The bowling department is quite thin and that's where they could be caught napping against a shrewd side like the Tuskers. How the Tigers bowlers fare will determine the outcome of not just this game but the side's season in general. The batting could also do with a bit more intent, given the depth that they have, but would be wary of not being overambitious.
Amla might not have got going in the first game but his presence is an assuring factor for the others to go after the bowling. The matches so far have shown that even in a format like T10, you need to be smart about what you're trying to achieve. When their experienced stars return to the mix after the ongoing Afghanistan-West Indies series, the team should only grow in confidence.
There's enough class and power in there, while the bowling showed signs of composure in the first game. Still, early days but the Tuskers look like a darkhorse team. Johnson Charles and Pat Brown would be two of the key players for the Tuskers in this match.
H Amla(c), J Charles(wk), U Tharanga, S Shafiq, R Whiteley, A Raza, A Pathan, P Brown, S Lamichhane, N Rimmington, S Zadran
RR Rossouw, R Frylinck, Liam Plunkett, Tom Moores, D Wiese, Colin Ingram, ADS Fletcher , Chirag Suri, Kevin Koththiigoda, Thisara Perera, Qais Ahmad
Given the number of batting riches they have in their ranks, the Tigers are spoilt for choice in their batting order. However, they would want to optimize their resources and this should come with a bit more clarity in their thought process.
Their bowling isn't exactly reliable and that means the batsmen will have to shoulder that extra responsibility. The all-rounders will have a major role to play, especially in their bowling as that's the department where the Tigers will need to improve.
The Tigers did manage to stretch their opponents down to the wire in the opening game and that shows that it's about managing the limited resources. Having said that, skipper Colin Ingram will have a big role to play in managing those resources. Thisara Perera is someone who needs to step up with his all-round contributions as well.
A Fletcher, R Rossouw, C Ingram, T Perera(c), T Moores(wk), R Frylinck, D Wiese, C Suri, L Plunkett, Q Ahmad, K Koththigoda
Nathan Rimmington, Upul Tharanga, Patrick Brown, J Charles, Shapoor Zadran, Ahmed Raza, Shafiqullah, Ross Whiteley, RN ten Doeschate, Hashim Amla, Sandeep Lamichhane
The forecast for the evening is clear in Abu Dhabi with temperatures hovering around the mid-20s or thereabout. Humidity is expected to be strictly average. The pitches are generally good for batting but the big ground dimensions, especially square of the wicket, should keep the bowlers interested as well.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the finest grounds in UAE and has been known for the batting tracks it provides in this league. Average score batting first on the second day of T10 League was 110.
The trend of chasing has caught up with in the T10 format as well but the events on Saturday when two of the matches were won by teams batting first will make the captains confused. Still preferable to chase, unless you have a world class bowling unit.
The Tigers have a batting-heavy line-up and that makes it imperative for them to win tosses to have a chance. Their deep and powerful batting line-up can then come into play. But if they bat first, they could find themselves over-attacking due to the pressure of their weak bowling unit. The Tuskers are comparatively more balanced and are the marginal favorites to win this clash.
Karnataka Tuskers to win!