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Titans thrash awful Auckland by 59 runs in Durban

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The unbeaten Auckland Aces got a complete thrashing on Wednesday afternoon as the Titans completely shot down their batsmen to win by a whopping margin of 59 runs and ensure that they are all but through to the Champions League T20 semi-finals. A good batting performance saw the Titans set a stiff target of 173 which was then defended with ease as the Aces collapsed for 113 to some disciplined bowling by the Titans' bowlers.

Being put in to bat, the Titans began their innings defying any assistance to the bowlers by the pitch. A boundary off almost every over, some classy drives and some over the top, forced Auckland to use 5 bowlers within the first 8 overs. Azhar Mahmood struck in the ninth over, removing Henry Davids for 36 (23b) and this slowed the scoring rate a bit. The Titans still managed to find the occasional boundary with Jacques Rudolph anchoring the innings brilliantly till he fell for 63 in the 18th over. Farhaan Behardien took charge towards the end with some controlled acceleration as he moved quickly to 48* off just 23 balls, striking three sixes along the way as the Titans posted an imposing 172-4.


Lions roar to 6-wicket victory against Chennai Super Kings

The Highveld Lions of Johannesburg ensured that their trip to Newlands was a very productive one as they picked up their second straight win at the expense of one of the IPL heavyweights, this time beating the Chennai Super Kings by 6 wickets in a thrilling game which went down to the final over. Chennai batted well, posting what on most days would have been a winning total of 158-6. Skipper MS Dhoni top scored for Chennai, making 34, but the strength of their batting effort revolved around plenty of useful contributions up and down the order. Aaron Phangiso was once again the star of the show with the ball, taking 2-17 from his 4 overs. The Lions were struggling at 24-2 after 6 overs, leaving them needing just under 10 an over from 14 overs to steal an unlikely victory, but the Chennai bowling support cast flattered to deceive, while Gulam Bodi (64) and Jean Symes (39*) played some excellent knocks to seal what in the end appeared to be a rather comfortable win with 3 balls to spare. 

The Highveld Lions won the toss in beautiful Cape Town and made an interesting decision to put the Chennai Super Kings in. While the Lions were unchanged, the Super Kings altered their approach significantly by bringing in allrounder Albie Morkel for Yo Mahesh in an attempt to strengthen their bowling. As a result a foreign player needed to be sacrificed and veteran Mike Hussey made way for Wriddhiman Saha.


Sydney Sixers thrash poor Yorkshire by 8 wickets in no-contest

Champions League T20 qualifiers Yorkshire were given a rude awakening to life in the big league as the Sydney Sixers thrashed the English side by 8 wickets in a match which was never really a contest. The Yorkshire batsmen struggled to come to terms with an accurate Sydney pace attack, scratching around to 96-9 in their 20 overs. The Sixers made easy work of the negligible target, chasing down the runs in less than 9 overs with Skipper Brad Haddin and Michael Lumb making rapid fire 40s.

Yorkshire won the toss and decided to bat first, sticking to the same side that featured against Trinidad & Tobago in their last game. The Sixers meanwhile made one change to their side, bringing in Dominic Thornley for Nic Maddinson.


Allround Azhar leads Auckland to easy win against Kolkata Knight Riders

Former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood continued to show that his utility in the shortest format of the game had aged like a fine wine, leading the Auckland Aces to yet another comfortable win, once again shining with both bat and ball. This time it was the IPL Champions the Kolkata Knight Riders who bore the brunt of Azhar's assault as the superstar picked up 3 crucial wickets at the top of the order to help restrict KKR to a paltry 137-6 in their 20 overs before stroking his way to his second half-century of the tourney to help the Aces knock off the runs with 14 balls and 7 wickets to spare. The defeat is a real disaster for KKR, who are now virtually on their way home, needing to win not just their last two group games, but also praying for a whole array of results to go their way.

The day started on a positive note for the Kolkata Knight Riders as they won the toss and opted to make first use of the pitch in Cape Town. Kolkata made a shock edit to their line-up, axing arguably their best bowler from the previous game Brett Lee in favour of Bangladeshi allrounder Shakib-Al-Hasan. Lakshmipathy Balaji, who had a poor game last time out, and Jacques Kallis, who appeared to be struggling with injuries, both kept their places in the side. Auckland meanwhile stuck to their winning combination.


Lions crush Mumbai Indian by 8 wickets in Johannesburg

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The Highveld Lions crushed the Mumbai Indians by 8 wickets in Johannesburg on Sunday evening to get their Champions League T20 campaign off to a great start. The home side made perfect use of familiar conditions, restricting the Mumbai Indians to an under par 157-6 with none of the Mumbai batsmen managing to get past 30. Dirk Nannes and Aaron Phangiso were particularly impressive taking 2-32 from the 8 overs they bowled between them. Despite a slow start, the Lions made easy work of the target, largely due to an unbeaten 121 run stand between two batsmen at opposite ends of their cricket careers as veteran Neil Mackenzie (68* from 41 balls) and Quinton de Kock (51* from 33 balls) led them to an excellent win. 

The Highveld Lions won the toss and slightly surprisingly opted to put the Mumbai Indians in, despite the result in the previous game favouring the side batting first. Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith opened the batting for Mumbai, and raced to 32 inside 3 overs, helped largely by some wayward bowling by an over excited Lions bowling unit guilty of going for a bit too much.


Sydney Sixers cruise past Chennai Super Kings to register comfortable 14 run win

The Sydney Sixers registered a comfortable 14 run victory over the Chennai Super Kings to get their Champions League T20 campaign off to a flier. A near perfect batting effort from the Sydney Sixers saw them post an imposing 185-5 in their 20 overs. All of the top 6 batsmen of the Sixers made their way into double figures, and that ensured that Chennai were never really in the contest with the ball in hand. Moises Henriques (49*) and Shane Watson (46) played some exceptional knocks at different stages of the Sydney innings to put the Chennai bowlers under a lot of pressure. The Super Kings struggled to keep up with the asking rate, and despite an excellent half-century from Suresh Raina (57), managed just 171-9 in 20 overs. Moises Henriques capped off an outstanding day by chipping in with 3 crucial wickets, while Mitchell Starc also picked up a 3-fer.

Having been put in to bat, Sydney's openers got them off to a blistering start, posting an even 50 runs in the powerplay before Michael Lumb fell for 18 the ball after the field spread, leg before to Ravindra Jadeja. Shane Watson continued to go after the bowling, racing to 46 from just 30 balls before he was run out.


Delhi Daredevils rout IPL Champions KKR by 52 runs

The Delhi Daredevils kicked off their Champions League T20 campaign in style, crushing the reigning IPL Champions the Kolkata Knight Riders by 52 runs in a disappointingly one-sided contest. The flip of the coin went Kolkata's way, and KKR opted to put their local rivals in to bat. Delhi made an impressive start, racing away to 46-1 in the powerplay before the Knight Riders pegged things back significantly. A 30 run over from Laxmipathy Balaji late in the innings though helped Delhi post an impressive 160-8. Kolkata meanwhile had a terrible start to their innings, losing their top 4 batsmen with just 4 runs on the board, and that put them on the backfoot for the rest of the game. The Delhi pace attack looks well equipped to go a long way in this tournament, and the Daredevils are going to be hard to beat.

The experienced superstar duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag opened the batting as always for Delhi, and gave their side a neat start. The veteran duo picked up a boundary each from Laxmipathy Balaji's opening over before Jayawardene took a liking to Brett Lee's pace and hit him for a couple of boundaries too. Sehwag benefitted from being dropped by Manvinder Bisla in the fourth over, a touch chance which had the young keeper diving full length to his right. However, KKR did get the breakthrough with Sunil Narine striking with his very first delivery, bowling Mahela for 21. Bisla wasn't having the best day behind the stumps, dropping Kevin Pietersen later in the over, and Sehwag chose to rub salt into KKR's wounds by spanking the next ball over the covers for six.


Titans thumps Perth Scorchers by 39 runs to open 2012 Champions League T20

South African powerhouse the Titans opened their Champions League T20 campaign with a very impressive 39 run demolition of the Perth Scorchers at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Saturday afternoon. Being put into bat on losing the toss, the Titan openers got their side off to a rollicking start, adding 109 runs for the opening wicket. Jacques Rudolph remained unbeaten on 83 from just 59 balls, while Henry Davids made a more than handy 54 from 38 deliveries to set the Titans on their way.

The home side failed to make the most of their start, faltering towards the ends of their innings to finish with a par score of 163-4 in their 20 overs, having looked good for 180-190 for the better part of their innings. The Perth bowlers with the exception of Nathan Rimmington (2-20) and Brad Hogg (0-26) had largely ordinary outings.


Ballance, Rashid take Yorkshire through to Champions League Group B

An exceptional unbeaten 64 from Zimbabwe-born Englishman Gary Ballance powered Yorkshire through to the main draw of the Champions League T20 as the the English side edged past a greatly depleted Trinidad & Tobago side by 6 wickets with 7 balls to spare.

Batting first after winning the toss, T&T didn't take long to find themselves in a world of trouble, crumbling to 8-3 inside 3 overs. The innings was rescued by stylish left-hander Darren Bravo (45) and wicketkeeper batsman Denesh Ramdin (59) with the latter looking in exceptional form. The duo added 93 for the fourth wicket before Bravo fell to the combination of Ballance and leg spinner Adil Rashid.


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