McKenzie, de Kock hold key for Lions in opener

Published: 23rd September 2013 12:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2013 12:44 PM   |  A+A-

South African champions Highveld Lions were a real force in the previous edition of the Champions League Twenty20, finishing runners-up to Sydney Sixers, in their own backyard.

Emulating that achievement in totally different conditions, in India, would require some doing, with as many as four IPL teams in the fray. But not an impossible task, given their line-up of youth and experience. First up in Group A day game, though, for the side led by Alviro Peterson are another overseas contender - Big Bash League runners-up Perth Scorchers.

With the 37-year old Neil McKenzie guiding their batting that contains the exciting new kid in South African cricket - 20-year old left-hander Quinton de Kock, apart from experienced hands Gulam Bodi and Peterson, the Lions look more than capable of putting up decent totals on the board for their balanced attack to defend.

In the Ram Slam T20 back home, De Kock topped the batting chart with 524 runs while ‘Lions’ occupied five of the top six slots in the bowling stakes, with Hardus Viljoen leading the spoils with 17 wickets.

While the feisty Chris Morris would be in Chennai Super Kings colours this time, they still have the variety offered by left-armers Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Sohail Tanvir, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso to be a handful for any opponent.

In comparison, Scorchers will take the field with three of their top players unavailable - injured Marsh brothers Shaun and Mitchell and medium pacer Alfonso Thomas, who is on duty with Somerset in England.

In the event, it will be up to veterans, captain Simon Katich and 42-year old chinaman Brad Hogg to lead the way for a bunch of relatively inexperienced players.

They, though, have a big-hitter in Adam Voges. One silver lining for them is the presence of a host of spinners, including 19-year old left-armer Ashton Agar.

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