The final of the 2012 T20 Cricket Champions League takes place in Johannesburg on Sunday as the Sydney Sixers aim to keep their 100% record going to the very end. The South African based Lions are the outsiders in this match but Alviro Petersen’s men have shown throughout this tournament that they are perfectly capable of upsetting the odds (3.30pm GMT, Sunday).
The Lions have been a competitive side throughout but their batting does tend to rely on just two men. Gulam Bodi and Neil McKenzie sit in first and second place respectively as the tournament’s highest run scorers and Bodi in particular has found excellent form with three half centuries.
Bodi will be relied upon to make a powerful start at the top of the order while McKenzie is the Lions ‘finisher’ – the man entrusted with the job of scoring enough runs in the finals overs to chase down or mount a large total. Both will be crucial to their team’s success but equally, the Sixers’ bowling attack will know exactly who they need to target.
Elsewhere, Lions’ skipper Alviro Petersen showed in the semi final win over Delhi that he is just starting to find the form that has deserted him so far and he will need to offer Bodi and McKenzie better support.
As for the Sixers, they have shown that they can cope without Shane Watson who left the camp before their own semi against the Titans on Friday. However, it’s fair to say that Sydney have struggled without their main all-rounder and their two victories in his absence haven’t been quite so convincing.
The final will therefore bring a lot of pressure on Michael Lumb who has made consistent scores at the top of the order without actually going on to compile a big innings. The English left hander is pivotal to Sydney’s chances as is skipper Brad Haddin coming in at number three.
The Sixers certainly have the edge in the bowling department and their line up contains some of the most promising young bowlers in Australian cricket. Mitchell Starc is the tournament’s leading wicket taker by some distance but the left arm paceman has received useful support from the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Moises Henriques.
For the Lions, Aaron Phangiso’s left arm spin has been their most dangerous weapon and he will play the vital role when Petersen’s men take to the field. Unlike Sydney however, there may not be the strength in depth to offer enough support to Phangiso and this is where the Sixers can win the game.
This should certainly be a more closely contested final than these odds are suggesting and although the Sixers secured a comfortable win over the Lions in the Group stages, it was done with the help of a major contribution from the departed Shane Watson.
Overall, the two batting line ups are well matched but Sydney’s strength in the bowling department is crucial and it should give Haddin’s side the edge in this final.
- Our T20 Champions League Final betting tip: Sydney Sixers to win at 8/13 with Ladbrokes.