Uphill task for Lions

Lahore team eyes big win for better net run-rate

Uphill task for Lions

Few teams would like to be in Lahore Lions’ place now. They need to win big to overhaul Chennai Super Kings’ net run rate and enter the semifinals, and to compound the miseries their skipper and premier off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez has been put on ‘warning list’ for a suspect action. 

Now, they perforce need to put those uncomfortable situations behind them and come up with a stellar effort against Perth Scorchers on Tuesday at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in a Group A tie.

Kolkata Knight Riders were the first team from this group to enter the semifinals. Obviously, the most pressing point for them on the morrow would be the run rate. Lions have six points from three matches and a win here would put them on par with Super Kings with 10 points. 

But Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side has a vastly superior net run rate of +0.945 against Lions’ +0.255 and it would require a win of massive propotions for Lions to surpass Chennai. However, it is easier said than done against Scorchers.

Of course, the Perth outfit has not impressed in this edition of the Champions League T20, dishing out performances well below their potential. A side that boasts of the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Adam Voges, Brad Hogg and Nathan Coulter-Nile is a threat on any day, but in this tournament they have struggled for consistency. 

Even their one victory against Dolphins came at the final moments courtesy two freak sixes by Marsh. But Perth’s struggles shouldn’t prompt Lions to picture them as easy meat. The Aussies are still a dangerous outfit, and would certainly be looking to exit on a winning note.

Lions also would have to keep in mind a personal worry. There’s no immediate danger for Hafeez as he can continue to bowl while being observed by the BCCI experts, but one more reporting of his action would lead to a ban.  

However, they have enough depth in both bowling and batting in the shape of Umar Akmal, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz and Nasir Jamshed to survive any tough phase, and Lions would be hoping for a collective effort. 

The day’s second match is a dead rubber between Northern Districts Knights and Barbados Tridents as both the teams have already crashed out of the tournament. Kings XI Punjab and Hobart Hurricanes have entered semis from Group B. 

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