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Unsung Redbacks seek glory

An Australian side was expected to make it to the semifinal of the Champions League, but not many would have put their money on South Australia. Instead, the popular choice would have been the flamboyant and better known Victoria Bushrangers.

cricket Updated: Sep 25, 2010 03:28 IST
Subhash Rajta

An Australian side was expected to make it to the semifinal of the Champions League, but not many would have put their money on South Australia. Instead, the popular choice would have been the flamboyant and better known Victoria Bushrangers.

It's not just South Australia's presence that's surprising. The manner in which they've made it to the last four is equally astonishing. The almost anonymous outfit is the only team to win all its league encounters, which includes spectacular wins over heavyweights like the Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Following the superb run, South Australia go into the semifinal against the Warriors on Saturday not as underdogs but as equals, or maybe even favourites.

Spearheaded by soft-spoken skipper Michael Klinger, their batting has been the cornerstone of success. Openers Klinger and Daniel Harris have given the team a good start, and when they faltered once, the middle order and lower middle order bats put their hands up.

The bowling, too, looks well-rounded. "We don't have big names, so we focus on doing small things well and play as a team," said Klinger. What makes them even more complete is their fielding. They are arguably the best fielding side in the tournament, and, as one would expect, have worked hard to get to this point.

"We started training for the tournament in May. Prior to that, we had a special fielding camp in the rains and wet conditions during winter. After having practiced in such tough conditions, it's been quite easy here," said Klinger.

For the Warriors, it's going to be a stiff challenge to put it past the pesky Redbacks. For one, they have played all their league matches at the St George's Park and they might be a bit tentative in their first away game. In the game against the Super Kings, their batting too didn't inspire much confidence.

The Warriors perhaps depend too heavily on skipper Davey Jacobs at the top and Mark Boucher in the middle.