Two aggressive and in-form sides will clash in a battle of equals when Mumbai Indians face off against West Indian outfit Trinidad and Tobago in the second semifinal of the Champions League Twenty20,here tomorrow.
It would be a contest on even keel as both the teams are coming off big wins. While Mumbai thrashed Perth Scorchers by six wickets,T&T annihilated two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings by eight wickets in their respective last league encounters.
Both the teams fought their way to the semifinal after being left with no other option but to win their final group matches and they did it in style on October 2 at the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium.
2011 champions Mumbai and T&T seem evenly-matched on paper as both the teams boast of big match-winners in Rohit Sharma,Kieron Pollard,Dwayne Smith,Sunil Narine,Lendl Simmons,Ravi Rampaul and Darren Bravo.
There is no doubt that the star-studded Mumbai side would do everything in their power to reach the final of the Champions League and give a fitting farewell to their iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar by lifting the trophy for the second time.
Tendulkar is playing his last Champions League tournament after announcing his retirement from the Indian Premier League this year.
Even though the Mumbai outfit did not get off to an ideal start as they suffered a defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals in the opening match before their second tie was washed out,they came back strongly to stamp their authority against the Lions and Scorchers in Group ‘A’.
Mumbai would look for nothing less than a repeat of their dominating show against the Scorchers where both their batsmen and bowlers fired in unison.
The bowlers,despite the absence of match-winning pacer Lasith Malinga,did well with pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile,Pragyan Ojha and Glen Maxwell successfully putting breaks on the opponents’ scoring besides chipping in with important wickets.
While chasing,the batsmen did their job to perfection with opener Dwayne Smith blasting a 25-ball 48,and skipper Rohit Sharma playing an unbeaten match-winning knock of 51 towards the end.
The worrying part though is the form of Tendulkar,who is yet to cast his magic spell with the bat.
Sharma had,in his post-match press conference recently,said he would expect the batting great to play a match-winning knock in the semifinal and the team would be hoping for him to shine tomorrow.
Mumbai,who are the favourites,have to guard against complacency when they take the field here at Kotla one more time.
Trinidad,on the other hand,will certainly be high on confidence after their dominating show against the rampaging Chennai Super Kings.
It was fine performance by the Caribbean side,who not only pipped CSK to the top position in Group B by virtue of better net run-rate but also booked their berth in the semis of the league.
Lendl Simmons played a pivotal role in his team’s fantastic showing as he took crucial wickets of Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina for only 10 runs and then smashed his way to 63 off 41 balls with five boundaries and four sixes.
For T&T,medium-pacer Rayad Emrit (3 for 21) was the most successful bowler while Ravi Rampaul claimed two wickets besides Simmons. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine kept a tight leash on CSK but went without a wicket.
However,they face another tough test in the Mumbai Indians.
The T&T side was blessed by a Duckworth-Lewis win over Titans after they were blown away by Sunrisers Hyderabad. They got the better of the South African side by six runs to shrug off the loss against the Sunrisers after starting convincingly against Brisbane Heats of Australia.
The team would be expecting Evin Lewis,Simmons and Denesh Ramdin to keep up the batting momentum and take the side home in a crucial clash.
On the bowling front,they would again be dependant on pacer Rampaul and Narine to deliver the goods and the duo has done a decent job so far.
Narine leads the highest wicket-takers tally with eight scalps in the competition.
With short boundaries at the Kotla stadium coupled with a flat deck,a high scoring contest is expected.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Captain),Sachin Tendulkar,Abu Nechim,Nathan Coulter-Nile,Rishi Dhawan,Harbhajan Singh,Mitchell Johnson,Dinesh Karthik,Glenn Maxwell,Pragyan Ojha,Akshar Patel,Kieron Pollard,Ambati Rayudu,Dwayne Smith,Aditya Tare.
Trinidad & Tobago: Denesh Ramdin (C & Wk),Adrian Barath,Sunil Narine,Lendl Simmons,Rayad Emrit,Sherwin Ganga,Jason Mohammad,Yannick Ottley,Ravi Rampaul,Navin Stewart,Samuel Badree,Darren Bravo,Shannon Gabriel,Evin Levis,Nicolas Pooran.