Kiwi Stags to lock horns with IPL champs at Kingsmead tonight

2010-09-11 00:00

KINGSMEAD has its first taste of the Champions League this evening as the Chennai Superkings lock horns with the Central Stags of New Zealand.

The Superkings, who are the reigning IPL champions, are blessed with a wealth of young talent and seasoned temperaments, and they will go into this opener as firm favourites.

The Stags, meanwhile, are largely unknown, but such is this version of the game that a little uncertainty can work in a team’s favour.

In the past week, the Chennai outfit have flexed their muscles against the Dolphins, with varying results. While the actual outcomes have been of little consequence, the Indian franchise have taken a lot from the experience of playing in South Africa at this time of year.

Aussie star Mike Hussey is excited at the prospect of playing on a Kingsmead strip that looks full of bounce. “It’s looking pretty good, and the boys just can’t wait to get out there and try to add to the IPL crown from earlier this year,” he said during the week.

Hussey added that the IPL victory means nothing now, and the Chennai side have to start all over again. “With so many internationals in our side, we have had to get the team spirit going again and obviously we don’t have the luxury of being together for most of the season like some of the other teams.”

That said, the Superkings have an enviable list of international stars, including mercurial spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, Hussey himself and the seemingly ageless Matthew Hayden.

The Stags were dealt a double blow when Ross Taylor was “borrowed” by his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore at the going rate of $200 000.

The absence of Jacob Oram due to injury leaves the Stags rather bare, but skipper Jamie How has faith in his young charges.

“It gives them the chance to show what they’re made of on the international scene, and perhaps if they perform well, they might even have a chance of being picked up for one of the IPL teams,” he said.

On tv

Chennai Superkings v Central Stags — 5.30 pm SuperSport 2.

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