NSW, Victoria evenly matched for Champions League semi-final clash

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New Delhi, Oct. 21 (ANI): New South Wales takes on Victoria in the first semi-final of the Champions League tournament here tonight. Here are some interesting facts related to the two teams.

In the 262 official matches between NSW and Victoria in the past 117 years, the closest the teams have gone to playing on neutral territory has been a Sheffield Shield match on the border-town of Albury in 1989 and a one-dayer in Canberra in 2006.

Tonight, they will meet at a stadium more than 10,000 kilometres from the SCG and MCG.

Although the (Victoria) Bushrangers and the (NSW) Blues have met in two Shield finals since 1990 the stakes - at least financially - have never been higher than for this clash: the first semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20.

The difference between winning and losing is at least 800,000 US dollars, or at most two million US dollars, if the winner of the match goes on to win the final as well.

Both NSW and Victoria are splitting the prize money between the players and the organization, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

NSW's success so far has been built on their formidable pace attack - notably Brett Lee's extraordinarily stingy effort to concede only 54 runs in four matches - and their plundering opening partnership of Phillip Hughes (164 runs) and David Warner (140 runs), who sit first and fourth respectively on the tournament's list of leading scorers.

Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said the Blues, who still lost only four wickets when beaten by Trinidad and Tobago, had yet to be challenged properly during the tournament.

"They've played game plan A - everything's worked for them. Our job's to disturb that and see what they've got up their sleeve ... We've played them about 10 times in the [tournament] preparation, minus [Brett] Lee and [Nathan] Hauritz basically, so we've got a really good fix on them as an opponent," Shipperd claimed.

NSW coach Matthew Mott agreed with Shipperd's assertion that virtually everything had gone to plan for its batting in the tournament.

"That's the aim of every side" - and predicted batting would be even more crucial than usual because of the poor state of the Delhi pitch. It's probably going to be which batting unit comes out and applies the most pressure on difficult batting conditions that's probably going to get over the line," Mott said

Both teams have kept the same line-ups for all four matches they have played in the tournament. (ANI)

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