Sydney Sixers are the only team with a 100% record at this stage of the T20 Champions League and Brad Haddin’s side are clear favourites to win this semi-final against Titans in Centurion on Friday (4.30pm BST).
The Titans are a competitive side and the outcome may not be as guaranteed as the odds suggest:
Sydney would have been concerned when their star man – all-rounder Shane Watson was recalled by Cricket Australia prior to their final group match with the Mumbai Indians. Watson was their key performer and although he hadn’t quite reached the same form displayed in the recent World T20, he had made useful contributions to the Sixers’ early campaign.
With Watson departed, Sydney did struggle in the batting department, setting Mumbai a modest total of 136/8 but their bowling was far more impressive.
Skipper Haddin will know that he can rely on a powerful bowling attack that contains Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Moises Henriques but the batsmen will have to perform much better if his side are going to justify their favourites tag.
Meanwhile, the Titans progressed in second place from Group A with two wins, a draw and a no-result. Martin van Jaarsveld’s team opened their campaign in positive style with back to back wins but went on to suffer a huge defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders when they were dismissed for just 89.
Taking form and momentum into account, Sydney have the upper hand as this contest approaches and are likely to be the more confident side after those recent results.
Once again, the Titans will rely heavily on their opening partnership of Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids who posted a century stand in their first game in this tournament. Rudolph is the tournament’s leading run scorer going into this semi-final and it’s clear that his wicket is vital but Davids has also impressed at the top of the order.
Haddin will know that he has to split the partnership early and then remove the second opener because the Titans have suffered from a lack of batting support in this tournament so far.
The South African based side have performed better as a team in the bowling department which is spearheaded by the experienced Alfonso Thomas. With Thomas, the Titans have a prolific wicket taker and an excellent death bowler but he has received good support from the likes of Ethy Mbhalati, CJ de Villiers and Roelof van de Merwe.
Overall, the Sixers hold the key to this match and if their batters and bowlers perform to the best of their ability then they will be too strong for their opponents. If Sydney bat first, Haddin, Michael Lumb and Peter Nevill can effectively win the game in the first ten overs but if the Titans take first knock, openers Rudolph and Davids will be facing the most talented bowling attack in this competition.
While there is undoubted value in those Titans odds of 11/8, Sydney should continue their impressive run with a comfortable win in this semi.