Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Semi-Final 2 – Mumbai Indians vs Trinidad & Tobago
2011 champs take on confident T&T
The second semi-final of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013 will feature defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians and Trinidad & Tobago.
Mumbai Indians have only barely made it to the semi-finals – even if they cruised the last mile. After losing to the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural match of the competition and after rain washed away their match against the Otago Volts, MI were on the brink of elimination. They needed a superlative performance in their final Group match, against the Perth Scorchers, and it came off the willow of skipper Rohit Sharma. After Dwayne Smith had set the platform with a quick-fire 48, Sharma took centre stage and made a 23-ball half-century ensuring his team marched into the semis.
Trinidad & Tobago have looked good in spells – but they have also had their moments. After a convincing win over Brisbane Heat in their opening match, they were defeated by Sunrisers Hyderabad in their following match. Next up, rain came to their rescue in the match against the Titans. With the Titans needing 36 from the final three overs of the innings – with the dangerous AB de Villiers still at the crease – the heavens opened up to bring curtains down on what was shaping towards a thrilling finish to hand T&T victory. With the Titans breathing down their neck, T&T came up with a superlative performance in the final Group stage fixture against Chennai Super Kings. They not only qualified for the semi-finals, but made it there in grand style, grabbing the top spot in Group B.
Mumbai Indians will begin as favourites; many of their players have the experience of playing in these high-pressure matches. The MI squad is also packed with game-changers. But the T&T players are entertainers; they do not necessarily see sport as sport and hence may not feel pressure as some of the other teams would. They have entertained to get this far in the competition, and they will hope the same will take them to the title clash.
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 8 pm IST
Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium, Delhi
This match is being touted as a contest between a formidable Mumbai Indians batting line-up and a very potent T&T bowling attack.
That MI is in the semis without any significant contribution from Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik talks about the depth in their side. Dwayne Smith and Rohit Sharma have been hitting the ball as well as they would have liked. Both batsmen are not only scoring runs, but getting them quickly and making sure they have an impact on the result. The two in-form men will be expected to carry on with their merry run-scoring ways.
Kieron Pollard has had three good outings, but one is yet to see the damaging innings the Trinidadian is capable of playing. This match presents him an opportunity to play that influential innings; he will be itching to have a go because he will be playing against an attack about which he knows a thing or two.
On the bowling front, Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan and Nathan Coulter-Nile have covered up for the absence of Lasith Malinga. Though they might not have conditions to their liking at the Kotla, they will be aware they have to keep up the intensity when they get the ball in hand. The focus will be on the spin pair of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, who have bowled at just the right speeds to make the most of the conditions and caused a lot of difficulty.
For Trinidad & Tobago, the focus will be on the opening pair of Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis to see the team off to a quick start. 21-year-old Lewis has impressed with his stroke-play and with his ability to pick boundaries, while Simmons will be riding high after his Man of the Match award-winning performance in the previous match against the Chennai Super Kings. The other batsman in the T&T line-up who can play that damaging innings is Darren Bravo. The left-hander, who resembles the legendary Brian Lara due to his mannerisms, bat-lift and stroke-play, has been timing the ball wonderfully and will have the confidence of two half-centuries behind him. In this high-stakes game, T&T will expect a lot from the 24-year-old.
On the bowling front, focus will be on how much damage the two spinners – Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine – can cause. Narine in particular has been sensational; he has not only picked up wickets to be the team’s top wicket-taker in the competition, but has also been very miserly. While the focus has been on spinners, the likes of Ravi Rampaul and Rayad Emrit too have picked up wickets every now and then. Against a formidable MI line-up, the team will need another collective performance.
The only previous meeting between MI and T&T was a thrilling match at Bengaluru. In CLT20 2011, T&T, despite being bowled out for 98, put up a brave fight and dragged the match to the very last ball. Ambati Rayudu took his team to the brink before he was run-out off the penultimate delivery of the match with his team needing two runs. Yuzvendra Chahal and Abu Nechim Ahmed scampered for two to clinch a close win.
Trinidad & Tobago’s Sunil Narine has picked up eight wickets in four matches in the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013 at an incredible average of 8.62.
The Mumbai Indians have lost only two of their 14 wickets to spinners in CLT20 2013.
The Mumbai Indians have the highest boundary percentage of all teams competing in CLT20 2013 (including Qualifiers) – 62.53 percent.
The winner of this match will square off against the Rajasthan Royals in the big Final on October 6. The loser of this match will pack their kits and head home, although they will receive a purse of USD 500,000 as consolation.