Depleted Scorchers Thrown To Lions

Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones/
Simon Katich will captain the Scorchers in India. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones/
The Perth Scorchers  begin their Champions League Twenty20 campaign against the Highveld Lions  on Monday night (AEST), hoping for a better showing than they produced at the tournament last year. The Scorchers lost three of their four fixtures during that ill-fated campaign, which ultimately resulted in coach Lachlan Stevens and captain Marcus North losing their positions of authority.

The Big Bash runner-up has lost several key players leading up to this event, with Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh both been ruled out through injury, while Herschelle Gibbs, Mike Hussey, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Alfonso Thomas are also missing. Simon Katich  and Liam Davis  are expected to form the new opening partnership for the Scorchers, while Test spinner Ashton Agar  could be a surprise name at the top of the order after posting several good scores batting at three in his side’s practice matches. With Coulter-Nile and Thomas unavailable, coach Justin Langer will hope that his international spinners Michael Beer, Brad Hogg and Agar can do the job with the ball for him.

The Lions won South Africa’s domestic Twenty20 competition for the first time to earn a place at the Champions League and will be confident of a strong showing in India. Exciting young wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock  will look to get his side off to a good start, while Alviro Peterson  and Neil McKenzie  provide valuable experience at the top of the order. Despite being without Chris Morris, who is on duty with the Chennai Super Kings, the Lions still boast a strong bowling attack headed by internationals Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir as well as Hardus Viljoen, who was the leading wicket-taker in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge.

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