Rudolph, Bodi lead 'bangers'

Jacques Rudolph (Gallo)
Jacques Rudolph (Gallo)
Cape Town – South Africans Jacques Rudolph and Gulam Bodi headed the run-getting pack as the Champions League Twenty20 tournament completed its group phase with a double-header at Centurion on Tuesday.

Going into the two matches (Auckland v Perth Scorchers and later Titans v Delhi Daredevils at SuperSport Park), the left-handers had been the first to go past the 150-run mark.

Rudolph, the leader with 171 runs from three knocks at an average of 85.50 and strike rate of 123, had an innings in hand to try to push onward to 200 – 29 runs by the in-form player for the Titans against the IPL outfit at his home venue would get him there, and also play a useful role in the blue-shirted team’s quest to clinch their berth in the semi-finals.

The Titans will make the cut anyway if Perth beat Auckland in the game on the go at the time of writing, but also had the 17:30 slot as an additional opportunity to make sure of qualification by beating Delhi.

Compatriots the Lions, much-travelled Bodi’s current franchise, are already assured of a last-four spot and are the only confirmed team at this stage in Thursday’s semi at Kingsmead.

The 33-year-old, happy-go-lucky Bodi – Indian-born but Proteas-capped in a handful of limited-overs internationals -- has amassed 152 runs at 38.00 (strike rate 121).

A total of 16 batsmen have registered 100 runs or more thus far, in an event where damp and sometimes chilly weather conditions, aiding the seamers, have made life more difficult at the crease than was probably wished for by the tourney bosses.

Perhaps indicating the extent to which local knowledge of spring conditions has been beneficial, five South Africans are among that group.

Besides Rudolph and Bodi, Neil McKenzie (Lions, 130 runs at 43.33), Faf du Plessis (Chennai Super Kings, 121 at 30.25) and Henry Davids (Titans, 103 at 34.33) feature on the list.

The third-highest run-scorer ahead of Tuesday’s matches was Yorkshire’s Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance (147 at 36.75), although he cannot advance as the English county have been eliminated as the bottom team in Group B.

Best-placed South African player in wicket-taking terms, meanwhile, is the Lions’ revelation as left-arm spinner, Aaron Phangiso, who shared third place (eight scalps) at the time of writing with established global T20 favourite Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan slingshot from Mumbai Indians.

The 28-year-old former SA U19 star’s wickets have come at an average of 8.87 and particularly illuminating economy rate of 4.43.

Top wicket-taker before Tuesday’s action was Australian left-arm speedster Mitchell Starc of the impressive, unbeaten Centurion semi-finalists Sydney Sixers (11 at 9.45), followed by veteran Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood (Auckland, 10 scalps at 9.20).

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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