South Africa’s domestic Twenty20 champions Diamond Eagles will have to play out of their skin if they desire to start their Champions League campaign on a winning note against a formidable New South Wales on Friday.
Considering the big names in captain Simon Katich, Stuart Clark, Nathan Hauritz and Brett among others in the NSW squad, Lee, the champion Australian side is undoubtedly the overwhelming favourites in the opening Group B match at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
On the other hand, Eagles are the underdogs in the encounter, but one thing which is in the favour of Boeta Dippenaar-led side is their opponents’ lack of knowledge about them.
Speedster Lee, high on confidence after a successful Champions Trophy campaign, possesses the biggest threat before the Eagles as he has the unmatched ability to extract bounce from the placid sub-continent pitches.
Besides Lee, who would be eyeing to use this chance to the fullest to get an idea about the conditions before returning to India for national duty, the NSW attack has two nippy pacers in Doug Bollinger and Stuart Clark up its rank.
The spin department will be in the hands of off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, who is fast emerging as a world class tweaker.
The batting front will be led by Philip Hughes and explosive David Warner, who make a formidable opening combination for the NSW, while Katich will provide the much-needed stability in the middle.
For Eagles, Dippenaar is the mainstay in the batting line-up while right-hand batsman Ryan Bailey also has the capability to change the colour of a match on his given day.
Apart from Dippenaar, the Eagles does not have much international experience in their side, and will be relying heavily on him and all-rounder Morne van Wyk, a member of the Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders, to come good in the USD six million tournament.
Eagle’s bowling department too lacks experience and will face a herculean task against a solid NSW batting line up on Friday.
Diamond Eagles: Boeta Dippenaar (Capt.), Ryan Bailey, Jandre Coetzee, Cornelius de Villiers, Dillon du Preez, Dean Elgar, Reeza Hendricks, Alan Kruger, Adrian McLaren, Ryan McLaren, Victor Mpitsang, Rilee Rossouw, Thandi Tshabalala, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Morne van Wyk.
New South Wales: Simon Katich (Capt.), 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.