Durban, Oct 25: The last Indian Premier League (IPL) team left in Champions League 2012, Delhi Daredevils, have made it to the semi-finals and carry India's hopes as they face Highveld Lions in today's (October 25) first semi-final.
IPL 5 champions Kolkata Knight Riders, CLT20 title holders Mumbai Indians and 2010 winners Chennai Super Kings have all gone home. They did not have a good tournament in South African conditions. However, Delhi, with their balanced pace attack, topped Group A and reached thus far.
If at all they have to go all the way to the title, it will depend on their batsmen. Delhi's batting have not been in good health in the tournament. Kevin Pietersen (two matches 23 runs) is yet to make an impact in the country of his birth. They need to fire in this big game.
None of Delhi batsmen feature in the top 30 list of highest run-getters. Virender Sehwag is the best with 74 runs from two innings. However Delhi's two matches were washed out.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel leads the team's hopes as he has taken five wickets in two games. He knows the conditions better as a homeboy and holds the key for Delhi. With him, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav and Ajit Agarkar form the support act in bowling.
For Lions, they have been in good nick right from the start. Opener Gulam Bodi and left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso (eight wickets) have shared the batting and bowling honours respectively. Bodi has 152 runs from four games and is third in the list.
The main worry for Lions is the form of their skipper Alviro Petersen. The right-hander is yet to construct a big score at the top of the order.
Left-arm paceman Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanveer can create problems for Delhi batsmen.
On current form, Lions, with home advantage, hold slight edge of the Daredevils.
The second semi-final is between Sydney Sixers and Titans on Friday.
Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Aavishkar Salvi, Ajit Agarkar, Unmukt Chand, Morne Morkel, Pawan Negi, Naman Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Kevin Pietersen, Venugopal Rao, Andre Russell, Virender Sehwag, Ross Taylor, David Warner, Umesh Yadav
Highveld Lions: Alviro Petersen (captain), Temba Bavuma, Gulam Bodi, Zander de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie, Pumelela Matshikwe, Chris Morris, Dirk Nannes, Ethan O'Reilly, Aaron Phangiso, Dwaine Pretorius, Jean Symes, Sohail Tanveer, Thami Tsolekile
Match starts at 9PM IST