CLT20: Will Mumbai Indians make Trinidad dance to their tune in semis?
Two aggressive and in-form teams clash in a battle of equals when Mumbai Indians face-off against West Indies outfit Trinidad and Tobago in the second semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20, in New Delhi, on Saturday.
It should be a keenly-contested match 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 semi-final after being left with no other option but win their final group matches, and they did it in style on October 2, at the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium.
With short boundaries at the Kotla, coupled with a flat deck, a high-scoring contest is expected.
Mumbai, champions in 2011, and T&T seem evenly-matched on paper as both boast of big match-winners.
Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul and Darren Bravo form the core of Mumbai Indians' squad.
Image: Mumbai Indians players celebrate a wicket
Mumbai bowlers have done well despite Malinga's absence
Mumbai will be looking to reach the final and give their iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar a fitting farewell by lifting the trophy a second time.
Tendulkar is playing his last Champions League tournament, having announced his retirement from the Indian Premier League earlier this year.
Even though the Mumbai outfit did not get off to an ideal start -- they suffered a defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals in the opening match before their second match was washed out -- they came back strongly and stamped their authority against the Lions and Scorchers in Group 'A'.
Mumbai will look for nothing less than a repeat of their dominating show against the Scorchers when 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 applying the breaks on the opponents' scoring besides chipping in with important wickets.
Image: Prgyan Ojha celebrates a wicket with Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar's form worrying
While chasing, their batsmen did the 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 shine with the bat.
Sharma had recently said he expects the batting great to play a match-winning knock in the semi-final.
The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Pollard will also look to display their true potential.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
All eyes on Simmons
Trinidad, on the other hand, will be high on confidence after their dominating show against the rampaging Chennai Super Kings.
It was fine performance by the Caribbean side, which not only pipped CSK to the top position in Group B by virtue of a better net run-rate but, in doing do so, also booked a berth in the semis.
Lendl Simmons played a pivotal role in the team's fantastic showing, bagging the crucial wickets of Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina for only 10 runs and then smashing 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. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine kept a tight leash on CSK but went without a wicket.
Image: Lendl Simmons
Narine, Rampaul could make magic with the ball
Trinidad & Tobago were blessed by a victory over Titans by the Duckworth-Lewis following their away loss to 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.
Evin Lewis, Simmons and Denesh Ramdin will be needed to serve the team with the bat.
On the bowling front, they will again be dependent on pacer Rampaul and Narine to deliver the goods considering the duo performed well so far.
Narine leads the highest wicket-takers' tally in the competition, with eight scalps.
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.
Image: Ravi Rampaul celebrates a wicket with teammates