After Yorkshire’s clash with Mumbai Indians was washed out on Thursday, anything less than a victory in this vital fixture will send Andrew Gale’s side home from the T20 Champions League cricket. As for the Lions, a defeat at the hands of Sydney Sixers last time out means that they must win this game (12.30pm BST, Saturday) to strengthen their quest for a semi-final place.
Yorkshire continued to struggle in this competition and when rain arrived to end their game against Mumbai, Gale’s side were looking at the probability of chasing a huge total. The side continue to suffer from injuries too and with concerns over key bowlers Moin Ashraf and Ryan Sidebottom, it will be a weakened Yorkshire outfit who take to the field in this fixture.
There are no reports of injuries within the Lions camp although the side will be concerned at the manner of their defeat to Sydney. It was clear that the Sixers were going to be the strongest side in Group B but it’s looking like a straight fight between the Indians and the Lions for the second semi-final berth.
Part of Yorkshire’s problem has been a determination to stick with the same bowling formation and while it may have worked in England during the Friends Life T20, it seems to be failing in South Africa. Part time off spinner Joe Root opens the bowling but after being hit for two sixes by Mumbai’s Dwayne Smith on Thursday, the opposition were essentially gifted a fast start.
Those injuries will surely mean that Gale has to be flexible with his bowlers and not give the Lions an opportunity to get quick runs on the board from the very first over.
In the batting department, Yorkshire may continue to struggle in the absence of the injured Jonny Bairstow and South Africa David Miller who was recalled by his domestic side after the first qualifier. If they are to stand any chance of victory then Gale, Phil Jacques and Root at the top of the order need to rediscover their batting form.
In their last match against the Sixers, some of the Lions’ weaknesses were exposed including their reliance on one or two batsmen to score the bulk of their runs. Gulam Bodi has been in fine form at the top of the order and made his second consecutive score of 60+ in that game but after he and Neil McKenzie were dismissed, the rest of the order fell away badly and could only post a sub-par total of 137-9.
The form of Alviro Petersen will be of prime concern and the skipper followed a duck in the last game with a score of just five against Sydney. Against a patched-up Yorkshire attack, the Lions have a perfect opportunity to find their touch once again but it is vital that they aren’t complacent about the strength of their opponents.
Yorkshire’s form in the tournament has been dismal but Gale’s men were impressive in chasing down totals in the qualifying stages. They can make this tough for the South African based side but the Lions should ultimately take the win against a weakened team.