The second semi-final of the Champions League T20 this year will be played between Mumbai Indians and Somerset. Both teams, Mumbai Indians and Somerset have had two wins, a loss and one rained-off game so far and yet, Somerset have been the better sides of the two. First, they defeated the Auckland Aces and Kolkata Knight Riders to get to the main draw, before getting the better of Kolkata and the Warriors to enter the semi-finals. There was a loss to the rampaging Bangalore side and an abandoned game against South Australia as well. Mumbai Indians began with a stunning upset of Chennai Super Kings before moving on to defeat the Trinidad and Tobago side off the last ball of the game. A good batting display against the Cobras followed by rains abandoning that game and then a loss to New South Wales Blues meant that they had to await the results of the last round to know their fate. Trinidad and Tobago’s defeat of Cobras put them through to the semi-finals.
Mumbai Indians had gone into the tournament with innumerable injuries to their squad, and that hasn’t stopped. Davy Jacobs had to catch a flight home and now, it is being said that Kieron Pollard has injured himself in the nets. If Pollard does not make it to the side, it would leave the Mumbai Indians with one of the most inexperienced lines-ups of the four. Many eyes would be on the opening batsman, Sarul Kanwar, who stitched up a 40 on his debut against the Cobras. His clean hitting will give Mumbai some hope even as the rest of the Indian batsmen at the top, Ambati Rayadu, T Suman and R Satish, have all found getting runs a struggle. The bowling has stood out, bowling their channels rather well. They restricted Trinidad and Tobago to 98 and made life difficult for New South Wales even as they chased 101. The one thing that captain Harbhajan Singh may want to beware of is the fields he set – as much as he would want to show himself off as an attacking captain, he had made a tactical blunder against the Blues by keeping a slip and a short-leg and yet having four fielders inside the circle only.
Somerset have gone about their business rather quietly. They were underdogs to begin with, especially with the absence of Marcus Trescothick, Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler, but registered their two wins in the qualifiers to get through. With Kieswetter and Buttler back, the side now has incision at the top and down the lower-order, even as Roelof van der Merwe continues to upset opposition plans at number three with his unorthodox batting. The bowling lies in the able hands of Alfonso Thomas, Steve Kirby and Adam Dibble, all of whom led the defence of their total of 145 against the Warriors. It will be interesting to see whether they will go into the game with the same line-up or the Chennai track will necessitate them to play an extra spinner in George Dockrell. Mumbai Indians will need Harbhajan Singh to inspire them with the bat and the ball, while Somerset looks at the slower bowlers, van der Merwe and Murali Kartik to choke the Mumbai scoring.
Match Timings: Oct 08, 2011 (20:00 local | 14:30 GMT | 20:00 IST)
Mumbai Indians (Probable): Aiden Blizzard, Sarul Kanwar, Ambati Rayudu (wk), Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard, R Sathish, Harbhajan Singh (c), James Franklin, Lasith Malinga, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Somerset (Probable): Craig Kieswetter (wk), Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe, James Hildreth, Nick Compton, Jos Buttler, Arul Suppiah, Adam Dibble, Steve Kirby, Alfonso Thomas(c), Murali Kartik.