2013 Champions League T20 team preview: Nashua Titans

Blog by: Vignesh

AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers

Nashua Titans – South African domestic team with a rich haul of history has won almost every single tournament they have played. But one thing that is missing from their famed trophy cabinet is the coveted Champions League T20 trophy. This time, they will look to add the trophy in the cabinet.

They were the strongest team on paper for the Ram Slam T20 challenge (South Africa’s premier T20 tournament) and are one of the stronger participants in the 2013 Champions League T20. They have a galaxy of stars who are capable of leading Titans to their maiden CLT20 crown.

They will be taking part in the tournament for a second successive year. In their previous appearance, they were beaten in the semifinals by eventual champions Sydney Sixers despite some scintillating show from their all rounder David Wiese.

This time around they qualified for the CLT20 after finishing the Ram Slam T20 challenge as runners up to Highveld Lions. This time, they go into the tournament as one of the favourites and are strengthened by the presence of their star players AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel.

Squad:

Captain: Jacques Rudolph.

Coach:  Rob Walter.

Batsmen: Jacques Rudolph, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien.

All Rounders: David Wiese, Roelof van der Merwe, Graeme van Buuren.

Bowlers: Morne Morkel, CJ de Villiers, Marchant de Lange, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards, Eden Links.

Wicket Keeper: Heino Kuhn, Mangaliso Mosehle.

Strengths:

  • They have depth in their batting line up.
  • Right mix of youth and experience.
  • Titans are a good fielding side.
  • Morne Morkel and Marchent de Lange form a deadly duo with the new ball.
  • Presence of some good international players in their lineup.
  • Their ability to chase huge totals at easily.

Weakness:

  • Many players are new to Indian conditions.
  • Their top order is relatively weak.
  • Lack of quality spinners in their side.
  • Absence of Albie Morkel who brings the much needed balance to the side.
  • Over dependence on AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel.
  • They are placed alongside T&T and CSK which means they should play out of their skins to reach the second round.

X-Factor:

What comes to your mind after hearing this name – Abraham Benjamin de Villiers? The unorthodox shots he plays? A wicket keeper who is perfectly at ease donning pads and gloves? A good finisher? A fielder who can come up with some stunning catches? Yes, all these things are the attributes of this entertaining cricketer.

He is a player who can win games single-handedly for his side. He can provide entertainment for the fans whenever he plays. And I am sure that a real cricket lover can’t hate him just like that. All these things apart, the chances for Titans in the CLT20 largely lie on the shoulders of de Villiers. He can score runs around the ground and field setting for him is a big worry for opposition captains.  He was in fine form for RCB in IPL and also for South Africa.

In the absence of Faf du Plessis and Albie Morkel, de Villiers is expected to deliver goods for Titans with the bat. In CLT20, all cricket fans around the world would like to see some mind-blowing shots from de Villiers.

Players to watch out for:

Titans have one of the best fast bowling attack in this tournament. Their fast bowling quartet consisting of Morne Morkel, CJ de Villiers, Marchant de Lange, Ethy Mbhalati can deliver the goods for the team from rainbow nation. There used to be a cliche which is best suited for fast bowlers. Yes that cliche is “FAST BOWLERS HUNT IN PAIRS”. A fast bowler cannot excel without the help he gets from his fellow speedster.

This perfectly suits the deadly duo of de Lange and Morkel. They can dominate the batsmen irrespective of the conditions. Even with the CLT20 taking place in spin-friendly conditions, this pair could be Lethal. Titans’ chances in the tournament depend on how well they bowl. They will be ably supported by de Villiers and Mbhalati.

It is very rare to see a spin bowling all-rounder emerging from the backdrops of rainbow nation. Roelof van der Merwe is one such player who rose from South Africa. Unlike other all rounders hailed from the country, Van Der Merwe is a slow left-arm orthodox spinner who has a huge impact in increasing the run rate in their batting lineup.

He will be used as a floater as well as a finisher in the batting line up. He is an exceptional ground fielder who is as solid as a rock in the field.

Van Der Merwe is also a familiar foe with the conditions in India. He provides the Titans an all-round cushion and with the absence of a first choice spinner, Van Der Merwe is expected to take the role of the spinner and operate in the middle overs. He is very crucial in Titans’ scheme of things in the upcoming edition of CLT20.

Possible Playing XI: Jacques Rudolph, Henry Davids, Roelof van der Merwe, AB de Villiers, Farhaan Behardien, Heino Kuhn, David Wiese, Morne Morkel, CJ de Villiers, Marchant de Lange, Ethy Mbhalati.

Titans Schedule:

Sunday 22 September v Chennai in Ranchi

Tuesday 24 September v Heat in Mohali

Saturday 28 September v Qualifier in Ranchi

Monday 30 October v Trinidad in Ahmedabad

Can the Titans live up to the expectations, win the CLT20 and add the trophy in their illustrious trophy cabinet?

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