“It’s certainly a great learning curve,” said Perth Scorchers coach Justin Langer, somehow managing to locate a positive after his team was resoundingly beaten by Otago Volts here on Wednesday.
That 62-run defeat marked out the Australians as also-rans. Though Perth could still qualify with victories in its last two matches, most expect the learning curve to become sharper. Slated to play Rajasthan Royals next, Langer’s players will now face Group A’s toughest test.
Chances of success against a side that has won its last nine matches at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium are, at best, minimal. The lack of experience in Perth’s squad makes its task even tougher. Seven of the 11 players fielded by the Aussie team against Otago had not even played 10 domestic T20 matches.
Perth’s resources have been depleted by injuries and other reasons to such an extent that it seems the franchise is using this event to carry out due diligence for future tournaments, as claimed by Brad Hogg.
Though the Jaipur track is more conducive to pace bowling than most Indian wickets, the make-up of the Perth bowling attack suggests it would thrive more on a dustbowl. Its left-arm spinning duo of Michael Beer and Ashton Agar hardly enjoyed any assistance against Otago.
The batsmen did better to score 180, but one should be careful of reading too much into that effort.
RR, though, will be determined as a win on Saturday will seal a semifinal spot for Rahul Dravid’s men. Everything seems to be falling in place for the skipper; his gamble to field Pravin Tambe against Highveld Lions resulted in a four-wicket haul and Man-of-the-match award for the 41-year-old leggie.
The batting unit’s effort of 183, though, relied more on multiple contributions than individual brilliance.
Nevertheless, Brad Hodge grabbed attention through a 23-ball 46 despite coming in at number six.
The Otago Volts juggernaut should continue to roll when it meets Highveld Lions in Group A. Brendon McCullum’s men are unbeaten in 15 consecutive matches. All-rounder James Neesham believes the team has proved it is not a “one-trick pony” by producing a superlative batting performance against Perth, despite the first-ball dismissal of its star skipper McCullum. Wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder also claims that the Volts’ unqualified success has been a result of contribution by all players on different occasions.
Contrastingly, Highveld Lions has paid the price for its poor batting. Though the South African team still has a mathematical chance of reaching the semifinals, its poor net run rate suggests it requires a miracle.