Chennai Super Kings kick off their Champions League T20 campaign against Big Bash champions.
Johannesburg: Featuring players who shone at the World Twenty20, Australia's Sydney Sixers might prove to be quite a handful for the Chennai Super Kings when the two teams clash in their opening Group B encounter of the Champions League T20, here on Sunday.
Sixers have quite an ace up their sleeve in all-rounder Shane Watson, the man who was destructive with the bat and incisive with the ball in the World T20. Such was the 31-year-old allrounder's form, that he netted four Man-of-the-Match trophies before walking away with the Player of the Tournament award even though Australia crashed out in the semi-finals.
In the form of his life, if Watson manages to keep fatigue at bay, he could well turn out to be the most valuable player in the event.
Led by Brad Haddin, the Big Bash champions are a decent line-up even though Watson would be their most crucial player with the bat. The skipper, who is struggling to get back into the national fold after an injury layoff, would also be a key player for the side.
On the bowling front, they have the express pace of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, who would relish the conditions here. Cummins was in good form during the World T20 and would be looking forward to working his magic in a country where he made a sensational Test debut last year.
Chennai, on the other hand, have a few issues to deal with. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will come into the tournament as a man under scrutiny after being an uninspiring leader during India's doomed World T20 campaign.
The batting line-up of the IPL runner-ups features some reliable names such Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina and Dhoni himself but the team lacks the one aggressor who can intimidate the rival attack.
Faf du Plessis and Albie Morkel have a reputation of being destructive when on song but the South Africans lack consistency even though being on home turf might just work to their advantage.
On the bouncy tracks of South Africa, the likes of Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus would be expected to deliver even though offspinner R Ashwin's form would also be crucial for the side.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c), Michael Hussey, M Vijay, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, S Badrinath, R Ashwin, Doug Bollinger, Albie Morkel, Yo Mahesh
Sydney Sixers: Brad Haddin (c), Shane Watson, Stephen O'Keefe, Patrick Cummins, Moises Henriques, Nathan McCullum, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Dom Thornely, Josh Hazlewood, Ian Moran