After brilliantly pulling off survival acts the other night, Mumbai Indians and Trinidad and Tobago know that sudden death awaits one of them on Saturday. The Champions League T20 semifinal at the Ferozeshah Kotla will decide the second team for the title clash.
Mumbai and T&T have some reputation in CLT20 history. T&T had finished runner-up in the inaugural edition in 2009, while Mumbai lifted the crown two years later.
Under a thick cover of clouds, T&T players sharpened their skills at the Kotla on Friday. Coach David Williams was proud of his team’s effort so far.
“We exactly knew what we wanted to do. Many did not believe that we will finish on top of the group but that is what we did. The guys really came out here, they played tremendous cricket so far and we are just one game away from the final,” he said.
Williams was pleased with the youngsters who rose to the occasion and filled in the shoes of players such as Keiron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper, who chose to play for their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises.
“We are just hoping that younger guys continue to perform and senior guys continue to pull their ways.”
The T&T coach said his side would take confidence from its win over Chennai Super Kings and try to repeat the performance against Mumbai. “We are playing some great cricket. It is gonna take something to beat us.”
T&T’s campaign will again be headed by the wily Sunil Narine, who will lead the attack with the magic of his spin.
The Caribbean team will look forward to the uphill task of throttling the extraordinary Mumbai batting line-up — consisting of Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu and Pollard. The West Indian outfit’s batting revolves around Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo.
Mumbai, which was forced to have an off-day on the match eve due to rains, will expect its big batting guns to fire. Rohit and Smith, who had exhibited their firepower against Perth Scorchers while guiding their team to the semis, would hope to repeat their showmanship again at the Kotla.
All eyes will be on Tendulkar as the master takes one step closer to his exit from limited overs cricket.
Mumbai bowling has the ripeness of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha and the exuberance of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Rishi Dhawan.
With timely assistance from Pollard, the pack has served Mumbai well so far.
On Saturday, Kotla will be eager to know whether the CLT20 final will be an all-IPL affair.