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More than 2 billion people would be in a dilemma today, on whom to support. For about a decade and half they have seen these 2 legends play for team India, but well this time they are facing off in the finals of Clt20 and only 1 of them can take their team to victory. It’s God vs The Wall, or Sachin vs Dravid, or we can call it Mumbai vs Rajasthan. 

Whichever team wins, this match is going to be an absolute nail biter. These 2 teams have been 2 of the best teams of the tournament and they have earned their place here in the finals. The match being in Delhi, which is a neutral venue is a good call as none of the teams would be having the home advantage. That being said, Rajasthan are very unfortunate to lose their finisher, Hodge to injury and that may be a huge blow for them. The youngsters must step up for RR, whereas the Mumbai batting line up looks in very good form.

Team News
The Mumbai team management made a good call by dropping Maxwell for Johnson in the last game, and they hope Johnson can deliver if he is picked to play in the finals too. Apart from Johnson, rest of the bowling attach looks solid with the Dhawan’s and the Ojha’s and the Bhajji’s performing decently. He batting on the other hand is their strong point. Now that Sachin is back in form, The Rajasthan bowlers would need to pull out something special to make sure they can run this Mumbai side over.

Rajasthan seem to be hit badly by the injury to Hodge, but well 1 player cannot be the reason for a loss or a victory. Their bowling looks pretty decent with Tambe, Cooper and Watson being in good form, but it is their batting where they need to pull up their socks. Dravid is not in form, Rahane acts as an anchor but plays a little too slow, Binny and Yagnik are inconsistent, which leaves too much work on the shoulders of Watson and Samson. They need to play together as a unit, and if they can there is no stopping them.

Probable Teams
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik(wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Pragyan Ojha  

X-Factor: For some reason Rohit is bowling Harbhajan mostly in the powerplays which is not what Harbhajan would prefer to do but isn’t resisting to it either. All he wants to do is bowl well and pick wickets regularly, as this is exactly where he can stamp his authority on the selectors and push them to select him in the national team. If he can pick up a couple of wickets early on in this very important game, he would be doing his team a huge favor. A good performance is expected from him, and it is to be seen if he can deliver the goods.

Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Stuart Binny, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Shukla/Shaun Tait

X-Factor: In the absence of Brad Hodge, it would be Stuart Binny who has to take up the role of the finisher in the Rajasthan line up. He is an outstanding all-rounder but has been underperforming in the last few games. If there is anyone who can motivate him to perform upto his ability, it is going to be Dravid, and Dravid must make sure Binny is at the top of his game. The son of Roger Binny, Stuart definitely has the potential to win this game for the Royals, and if he does so it would be the perfect farewell he could give to the one and only legend – The Wall, Dravid.

Expected Result:  Close game, Mumbai Win


 
 
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13 West Indians on the cricket field, it is going to be a calypso party down there. Oh yea, the 11 from Trinidad and Mumbai’s Smith and Pollard. Both are very exciting teams, and both had to win with a pretty big margin in their last match to make sure they make the semi-finals, and well they did. Both are contrasting teams, with Trinidad having a very strong bowling line up whereas Mumbai have a really strong batting unit.

All eyes will be on Sachin Tendulkar, especially since he has failed in the last few matches. No one wants Mumbai to lose, because if they do that would mean the end of Sachin in the colored jersey. The quote “#ThisTimeFor10Dulkar” has been Mumbai’s promotional quote throughout the tournament. Talking about Trinidad, they have been in good form lately and the leader of their bowling attack Narine has been a treat to watch. Rampaul, Emrit and Badree have supported him really well too which all together makes a potent bowling attack.

Team News
The Mumbai team management would have only one headache on mind while selecting their playing 11, whether to play Johnson or Maxwell as the 4th international player. Johnson has a better chance of playing because he is one of the best bowlers in this version; however his form is a big worry. Whoever plays, all eyes will be on the man who has carried the nation’s hopes for the last 2 decades and everyone hopes he can deliver. Pollard and Rayudu would be expected to provide the kick needed at the end of the innings, and one of them must step up and make sure Mumbai can pull it over the line.

Trinidad and Tobago never get their desired team because some or the other players choose to play for their IPL teams, Like Bravo and Pollard did. However, they still have managed to pull this together and have made it to this stage. They start as underdogs in this match but do have the potential to win this one, all they need is their batting to click.
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Probable Teams
Mumbai Indians: Dwayne Smith, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik(wk), Rohit Sharma(c), Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Glenn Maxwell/Mitchell Johnson, Harbhajan Singh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pragyan Ojha, Rishi Dhawan

X-Factor: Sachin Tendulkar, the man who can make 2 billion people stop work and switch on their television set has not had the best of tournaments this time around. He has already announced that this is his last tournament for Mumbai Indians, and he would want to end on a high. For that to happen, he needs to perform and give the team a good start. If he does so, his team would be on their way to achieve “#ThisTimeFor10Dulkar”, the slogan of the Mumbai fans. If he performs, the fact that productivity will decrease is a different story, but it would be a treat to watch the master scoring runs again.

Trinidad and Tobago: Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Dinesh Ramdin (c)(wk), Yannick Ottley, Navin Stewart, Nicholas Pooran, Rayad Emrit, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree

X-Factor: Darren Bravo, the assumed to be next Brian Lara would be in the lime light in this must win game. It is known that Trinidad have a strong bowling unit, but it’s their batting that must stand up and perform. Bravo holds the key and must stabilize the innings from one end, which would give the team a free license to go for the bowling from the other end. His team’s fate is likely to depend on his performance, and it will be seen whether he can handle the pressure at the biggest of stages.

Expected Result:  Mumbai Indians wins


 
 
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Match Preview: Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals @ Jaipur

Everyone expected CSK and RR to be 2 of the strongest teams in this competition, but who knew that they would have to face off in the semi-finals. RR have one of the best records at home with them being unbeaten in 12 consecutive games that they have played in Jaipur, but if there is some team that can break the record it has to be the Super Kings.

Both teams have a similar team structure, with there being some strong batsmen, a couple of good spinners, 2 good pacers and a quality all-rounder in each team too. Now it all comes down to which guy will put his hand up and perform on the day. It’s going to be a nail biter if it comes down to the star player from each team, Watson and Dhoni. Both captains are crowd favorites and at the same time calm customers, but at the end only 1 would have a smile on their face.

Team News
CSK have a strong team filled with international stars, but cricket is not just a numbers game. They have a solid opening pair, but they have not played as a solid pair throughout the tournament. When Hussey fails, Vijay performs and vice-versa. Other than that, if Jadeja and Mohit contribute a little more with the ball, Dhoni could have a big smile on his face at the end of the match.

Rahul Dravid has done an exceptional job in putting together a team from nowhere. A young wicketkeeper in Samson playing with a 41 year old Tambe, and both players being the top performers in their departments, this could only happen in Rajasthan Royals. If RR were to lose today, this would be the last time we get to see Dravid in the colored jersey. That being said, their record at home has been really good and 1 or 2 of their batsmen stand up in every game, like earlier it was Samson and Rahane and in the last game we got to see a gem of an innings from the old fox, Hodge.

Probable Teams
Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Mahendra Dhoni (c) (wk), Ravi Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravi Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Jason Holder

X-Factor: Mahendra Dhoni, assumed to be the best captain ever, is going to take field in this very important game and the way he performs today will be very important. If he can bring his midas touch into the game and blast the RR bowlers, there will be no stopping CSK from storming into the finals. A lot will be expected from him, not only in the batting department but even in the bowling department. He has a task in hand, mainly because 2 of his main bowlers Jadeja and Mohit Sharma are not in form.

Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson(wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Ashok Menaria, Rahul Shukla, Pravin Tambe

X-Factor: Shane Watson had not had the best of tournaments, neither with the bat nor the ball and that is a slight headache for Dravid. However, we all know what he is capable of and if this is his day he can win the match for RR single handedly. He bats at no.4 and also bowls 1st change, both of which are pretty important roles. He would be hoping that the top 3 do not give him a lot of time In the middle, which would mean that RR have already posted a huge total. He would be the hottest pick in user’s fantasy team, and he must perform to prove them right.

Expected Result:  Rajasthan Royals win


 
 
The second match of the day, and a mouthwatering contest. The semi-finals schedule would not be ready until this match is over, as Trinidad & Tobago have a genuine chance to qualify for the playoffs. A win or a loss by the narrowest of margins is what they need, and if they can get any of the 2 then a place in the playoffs is assured.

These 2 teams are completely contrasting, with CSK having the strongest batting line up in the competition, and Trinidad having the strongest bowling line up. It’s going to be a great battle between bat and ball, and it is to be seen who emerges victorious. Both captains are wicket keepers, and this match would certainly test their skills and teach them how to deal with pressure situations.

Team News
Chennai arguably have the best batting line up in the entire tournament, and they have some explosive players in Raina and Dhoni. Their batting is so good that many times it covers up for their weak bowling, and that makes them such a strong unit. Well, against a good bowling lineup their batting strength would certainly be tested. It is to be seen whether they can stand up and accept the challenge or fall like a pack of cards.

Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul and Samuel Badree, 3 of the best bowlers in the shortest version of the game playing together is a huge plus for any team. Narine particularly, is a threat for all batsmen. Given that CSK’s 2 main batsmen Hussey and Raina are left handed, Narine would have an even bigger role to play and knock those 2 guys over. Rampaul would face the challenge of bowling against Dhoni, but he is definitely capable of knocking over the Indian captain. Darren Bravo has been a consistent performer, and another good innings is needed rom him to make sure his team goes through.

Probable Teams
Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Mahendra Dhoni (c) (wk), Ravi Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravi Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Jason Holder

X-Factor: Mohit Sharma hasn’t been In the best of forms in this clt20, but he is a good upcoming youngster. He has the knack of taking wickets early on in the innings, and he must do that on a consistent basis. Dhoni wouldn’t be the happiest person after Mohit hasn’t been doing what he used to in the IPL. If he can knock over a few dangerous batsmen at the start of the innings, it would be exactly what the doctor ordered and would put CSK in a good position to win.

Trinidad and Tobago: Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Dinesh Ramdin (c)(wk), Jason Mohammed, Navin Stewart, Nicholas Pooran, Rayad Emrit, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree

X-Factor: Lendl Simmons is due for a score big time. He is a regular in the national team, and has shown glimpses of what he is capable of but has not been able to perform upto potential. His failures create extra pressure on Bravo’s shoulders, and this is a match where Simmons has to perform. If he can provide a good start, T&T will be well on their way towards victory, which is exactly what they need.

Expected Result:  T&T win a close contest

 
 
Each and every cricket fan would have his eyes on the television set for this huge match, it could either be Sachin Tendulkar’s last match in the colored jersey or it could be the match where the Mumbai Indians crush the Scorchers and make it to the semi-finals. Cricket fans from all over the world would want MI to win, who wants to see Sachin not play anymore?

Talking about cricket, it is expected to be a 1 sided game with Mumbai being too strong for the Scorchers to pull up a surprise, but you never know what can happen in cricket. The Scorchers have been further weakened due to the injury to Voges, who flew back home. The only backbone in the team has left, and now the Scorchers look even weaker. On the other hand, this is the perfect opportunity for the Mumbai bowlers to rattle their opposition and make sure the team wins by a huge NRR.

Team News
The Indians have a pretty strong lineup, but for some reason they could not get their act together and find themselves in this situation. A big win is all they require and if they can get that, a place in the semi-finals is theirs for the taking. Sachin Tendulkar is not in the best of forms, but no one can doubt his ability. All he needs is some time in the middle to gain back some form and then he can anchor the innings along. Pollard and Rohit have had decent outings with the bat, and they are Mumbai’s main assets. Ojha and Harbhajan also have a huge role to play, hopefully they can deliver.

The Scorchers have struggled to put a team together, especially after the injuries to the Marshes, Thomas and Voges (now). Their main players are injured, and they themselves know they are coming up with a depleted team. Funny things do happen in cricket, and that is all they can hope for. This match would be the last day of their misery, after which they can return back to Australia and review their performance.

Probable Teams
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik(wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Pragyan Ojha  

X-Factor: Mitchell Johnson is one of the most fierce opening bowlers, and especially with his pace and swing he can be an invaluable asset in the shortest version of the game. This is his best chance to get back in form and pick a few wickets. He has looked rusty throughout this series with the ball, but if he can swing it and pitch it in the right areas it is going to be fun to watch. He must pick wickets early on in the innings, to make sure Mumbai can win with a big margin.

Perth Scorchers: Ashton Agar, Marcus North, Simon Katich (c), Tom Triffitt (wk), Hilton Catwright, Sam Whiteman, Ashton Turner, Joel Paris, Joe Mennie, Jason Behrendorff, Michael Beer

X-Factor: Not much is expected out of the Scorchers but it is a known fact that Simon Katich is a class act. He is the only batsman who has played for Australia over a long period, and he must step in and perform. He was unlucky in 1 of his outings, and got a peach of a delivery in the 2nd game, but he does have the potential to hold the innings together. Katich is the only player who can negate the likes of Johnson, Harbhajan and Ojha and if he does so the Scorchers might have a slim chance.

Expected Result:  Mumbai win convincingly