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Updated: September 30, 2011 23:38 IST

Teams fight for top positions

K. C. Vijaya Kumar
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LOOKING TO THE BOWLERS: Warriors captain Johan Botha, who has found varied heroes in his team's wins, will hope his bowlers deliver to seal a place in the semifinals.
AP LOOKING TO THE BOWLERS: Warriors captain Johan Botha, who has found varied heroes in his team's wins, will hope his bowlers deliver to seal a place in the semifinals.

KKR takes on Warriors which has full points from two matches

The stakes will be high on Saturday when the Champions League's Group B teams jostle for the top slots in a double-header at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The four squads in the fray are at varying points in their cumulative journey towards the semifinal slots.

Somerset, yet to lose a game in the tournament, starting with twin triumphs in the qualifying round besides a victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the league phase, will clash with South Australia in the evening match. The Australian outfit, with one win and a loss, needs to win the contest to stay alive.

Later in the night, Kolkata Knight Riders, having wrested some momentum and hope thanks to a facile victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, will take on Warriors, a rival sitting pretty on top with its full quota of four points from two matches.

The matches will also evoke huge interest in the RCB ranks after two losses have left Daniel Vettori's men in a must-win quagmire for the remainder of the tournament.

van der Merwe delivers

In the past, Somerset was associated with two friends and their exploits. Vivian Richards and Ian Botham were men with imposing talent and an indomitable will.

Those days are long gone but the County has moved on and in its latest set of matches found Roelof van der Merwe (131 runs), doing the winning-act. van der Merwe is well aware of the local conditions, having played for RCB in the previous years.

In Murali Kartik, Somerset also has a gritty player battle-hardened on Indian terrain. Amidst all the noise that Harbhajan Singh's omission from the Indian team churned up, Kartik will continue to ply his wares.

Led by Alfonso Thomas, these are still early days for Somerset but the same cannot be said about South Australia, which slumped against Warriors and then bounced back with a win against KKR while Callum Ferguson and Daniel Christian batted well.

Michael Klinger's men need to get their act together fast as a loss against Somerset will litter the path ahead with calculators and net run-rates.

Even that luxury of a mathematical probability does not exist for KKR since it is playing its last league match and needs to win against Warriors.

Its first two losses continue to hurt but KKR can take heart from the manner in which its top-order of Jacques Kallis, Brad Haddin and skipper Gautam Gambhir clinically demolished the RCB attack.

Gambhir's runs and his assurance when Dirk Nannes bounced at him are all pointers to welcome normalcy after he spent the last month coping with dizzy spells triggered by a concussion in the head.

KKR needs its bowlers to tighten up which they did for some time against RCB before Vettori cut loose.

Warriors, with a last-ball win against RCB and a resounding punch against South Australia, have found varied heroes in Ashwell Prince and J.J. Smuts. Captain Johan Botha will hope that his team will seal its semifinal berth but before that his bowlers, be it Lonwabo Tsotsobe or Rusty Theron need to break the Kallis-Gambhir combine.

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