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NSW hold edge over Victoria in first semi-final

October 20, 2009 16:32 IST

Batting might tilts the balance in New South Wales' favour when Simon Katich and his men cross swords with Victoria Bushrangers in an all-Australian semi-final in the Champions League Twenty20 in Delhi on Wednesday.

Katich's men emerged from the group stage with an impeccable all-win record before tasting a lone defeat against Trinidad & Tobago, an outfit that remains alien to defeat in the tournament thus far.

NSW, however, can consider themselves unlucky to have found themselves at the receiving end of Kieron Pollard's stunning batting pyrotechnics as the power-hitter lit up the Friday night sky with an unbeaten 18-ball 54.

Barring that morale-sapping four-wicket defeat, Katich and his men have not put a foot wrong in the tournament, firing mostly in unison, which remains the secret of their progress so far.

Not that there hasn't been any individual brilliance on display from the outfit, which includes the likes of David Warner and Brett Lee.

In fact, the mere sight of David Warner, with Phillip Hughes in tow, opening the innings is good enough to send shivers down any bowling unit.

A swashbuckler with an uncomplicated game and a simple philosophy that balls are meant to be hit, Warner has already made his mark with the bat and if he can conjure up a similar performance in the semis, Victoria will be doing the catching up job for the remainder of the match.

Hughes, on his part, is not really a dud with the bat either. He seems to have taken his game to a new level after his secret meeting with Sachin Tendulkar. The left-hander gave ample display of that in the match against Trinidad & Tobago, slamming a free-scoring 83 runs off 64 balls.

Katich himself is there to lend stability to the middle order and Moises Henriques may not have set alight the tournament so far but there cannot be any question about his ability.

Their bowling looks equally formidable and any attack that has Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Doug Bollinger is bound to earn the respect of the opponents.

Lee has been in consistent form, measly with runs and regular with wickets, and the speedster also has a reputation of raising his game on big-match occasions.

Stuart Clark doesn't boast Lee's speed or flamboyance but the reticent pacer has few equals when it comes to efficacy and he has been among the wickets regularly.

Victoria, however, will go out on Wednesday to prove that they are no pushovers.

The team under Cameron White had a rather roller-coaster group stage campaign with surprise defeats against the lowly Wayamba Elevens and stunning triumph over Delhi Daredevils in their den at Ferozeshah Kotla.

White will be worried about the batsmen's form and he himself will have to lead from the front.

The bowling looks better with Shane Harwood, Peter Siddle and Clint McKay in form, but all depends upon how they fare against the Warners and Hugheses.

Teams (From)

New South Wales: Simon Katich (c), Aaron Bird, Doug Bollinger, Stuart Clark, Nathan Hauritz, Moises Henriques, Phillip Hughes, Simon Keen, Brett Lee, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Rohrer, Daniel Smith, Steven Smith, Dominic Thornely, David Warner.

Victoria Bushrangers: Cameron White (capt), Aiden Blizzard, Aaron Finch, Shane Harwood, John Hastings, Brad Hodge, Jon Holland, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Bryce McGain, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade.

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