Steady Mennie in groove
Steady Mennie in groove

Joe Mennie has made the hardest decision of his short cricket career; now he is about to face the toughest challenge of his cricket life.

Mennie has bowled just four overs in his Twenty20 career but will confront a Delhi line-up at Newlands tomorrow that includes four current or former international captains in Mahela Jayawardena, Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor and Virender Sehwag, countryman David Warner and India's emerging star Unmukt Chand.

They are explosive, mature and dangerous and the reason that the Daredevils remain favourites to win the Champions League. Perth must win the match to remain in contention for the finals.

"It is a bit nerve-racking but when you are at the top of your mark all you can concentrate on is what ball you are going to bowl and not worry about who is standing at the other end," Mennie said.

"There is a who's who of cricket here. It is amazing to be in the middle of it."

Mennie, 23, had made two significant decisions before he gave up his place in the South Australian team to join the Scorchers in South Africa.

He was a promising junior in Newcastle but moved to Sydney to better his prospects and then last year turned his back on a rookie contract with NSW after being approached by the Redbacks.

They were actions designed to improve his cricket fortunes, but neither of them match the ramifications of his in-season decision to give up his spot to play for another team for a month.

"It was a very tough decision. I obviously want to play as much Sheffield Shield cricket as possible but I might never have the chance again to go on a tour of South Africa and the experience that comes with that," he said.

"I have given up my spot and I will have to fight to get it back."

Mennie started with 23 shield wickets last season, but found himself at the centre of a vigorous dispute midway through the summer.

He claimed 7-96 against WA at the WACA Ground and was promptly signed by the Scorchers for the Big Bash.

Redbacks coach Darren Berry was furious, accusing opposite number Lachlan Stevens of poaching, and was sceptical about Mennie being anything more than a net bowler at this tournament.

Mennie disproved that during the opening match against the Titans when he produced an unflappable 1-29 and bowled so impressively that he forced veteran Ben Edmondson out of the team for the second match.

Subject to the rain forecast for Cape Town tomorrow, Mennie will need to produce the same approach against the high-octane Delhi top order.

"Bowling to that calibre of players is something I am really looking forward to," he said.

The West Australian

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