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MI has more match winners than T&T: Harsha

SWOT Analysis - SF 2: Mumbai Indians vs Trinidad & Tobago

The Mumbai Indians dominated the Perth Scorchers, while Trinidad & Tobago caused a big upset on the last day of the league phase by comprehensively beating the Chennai Super Kings. In the process, the Caribbean club ended up as table toppers in Group B.

As a result, the Mumbai Indians will take on the Men in Red at Delhi in the second semi-final of CLT20 2013. To take a look at how the two sides will fare against each other, we caught up with commentator and cricket expert Harsha Bhogle.

Here are his views on the two teams:

The Mumbai Indians: They thrashed the Perth Scorchers to qualify. They were always going to win that game; there was never any doubt about that. Sometimes I get the feeling that on a big day, MI tend to be over cautious, too conservative. Dwayne Smith, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Kieron Pollard someone is going to fire, and then also there is Ambati Rayudu. So they don’t need to be conservative. Somehow I get the feeling that they are conservative. So I would like to see them play freely. When the Mumbai Indians play freely, they are most dangerous. When they suddenly get all their theories and start to play conservatively, they are at their most worrisome.

They brought in Glenn Maxwell against T&T because they realised it was going to be a day for a chase and they wanted a big hitter. I have no doubt that they will have to play Mitchell Johnson against Trinidad & Tobago. And he could well be the key player like he was in the IPL.

Trinidad & Tobago: I think T&T was a little short of batting, a little short on class. They try hard but if they lose early wickets, I don’t see them having the depth to go all the way through. And I think they rely too much on one bowler. So if Sunil Narine goes for 25-28 odd runs, then I don’t know how T&T will fare. On a small ground like Kotla, if T&T don’t get off to a start, it would be an issue.

MI vs T&T: Let’s just say that MI should be disappointed if they lose. They are playing five bowlers now (given that they will play Johnson as suggested above), which against Perth Scorchers they didn’t, so even the Scorchers got 149 against them. With five bowlers MI is a better side – with Pollard as the sixth. So I am sure they will play Mitchell Johnson, if he is fit. If Johnson plays and he is in form, then the bowling and batting are equally good. I think MI won the IPL earlier this year because they played five bowlers. More and more they are discovering that T20 can actually be a bowler’s game. We should play five bowlers consistently. I don’t think their batting is that strong. It is just that batting is a more glamorous art because of all the big-hitters. I hope Rohit Sharma bats like he did against the Perth Scorchers because he is their best batsman; there is no doubt in my mind about that. I think he should bat in the top three. Why he bats at No.4, I don’t know.

Dwayne Smith, a reliable bat for MI: With all the attention on Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar and Kieron Pollard, this man has suddenly broken free. He has nothing to lose and he is going to play freely. He then makes valuable contributions. For example, against the Scorchers, Sharma played a great innings, but it was all set up by Dwayne Smith. He might emerge as a big player.

If T&T lose couple of wickets early, Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons, then I think they might struggle. I am not sure they have the batting depth to allow for early loss of wickets. If they don’t lose wickets, then it is okay because then they have Denesh Ramdin who may come in at No.5, and they can all go out and tonk around. But if they lose early wickets, they will be in trouble.

It’s good to know that T20 still can be about wickets.

Conditions at the Feroz Shah Kotla: I don’t know because I haven’t been there. But because the boundary is very small, it is difficult to defend at the Kotla. I think one would want to chase.

Pick of the teams: MI, because on a big day, they just have more match winners.

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