Dehli expect tight semi final battle
The first semi-final of the Indian Premier League will see an interesting clash between table-toppers Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils, which qualified by default, at the Wankhede Stadium.
Rajasthan Royals would be looking to continue their dream sequence of wins, while Delhi Daredevils, which managed to grab the last spot in the knock-out stage, will be hoping to finally live up to their potential on the big stage.
The competition has built up nicely to the last four stage and a capacity crowd is expected to witness this slam bang action between the two teams that possess enough firepower to outperform each other.
Rajasthan Royals, led astutely by the irrepressible Shane Warne, has been incredible while playing at home and finished their preliminary engagements with only three losses from 14 matches. They have a 1-1 head-to-head record against Delhi Daredevils, which entered the semi-finals with just seven wins and 15 points to their credit.
Mumbai has not been a happy hunting ground for either, both losing to Mumbai Indians here, and it remains to be seen how the batsmen manage to cope with the seaming conditions that prevail at Wankhede.
In the bowling department, Daredevils seem to hold the advantage as they are better equipped in the seam department led by Glen McGrath, who would be in his elements on a pitch that provides extra bounce.
The support machinery will be provided by Farveez Maharoof and Yo Mahesh, who would be looking to make early dents in the rival batting, which will be led admirably by South African Graeme Smith, who has tallied 416 runs, and Goa's Swapnil Asnodkar.
In contrast, Rajasthan Royals will be hoping for an inspired show from pacers Munaf Patel, Pakistan's Sohail Tanvir, who has had a dream run with 21 wickets, and Shane Watson to trouble the in-form Gautam Gambhir (523 runs) and Virendra Sehwag (403 runs) and Shikhar Dhiwan.
Where Rajasthan Royals hold a clear edge is in the spin department, led by Warne, whose leadership and exploits have also brought out the best in Yousuf Pathan and Dinesh Salunkhe.
Rajasthan Royal (from): Shane Warne (captain), Graeme Smith, Swapnil Asnodkar, Niraj Patel, Shane Watson, Rajendra Jadeja, Dinesh Salunkhe, Aditya Angle, Mohammad Kaif, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Parag More, Morne Morkel, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Mahesh Rawat, Anup Revandkar, Jaydev Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Siddharth Trivedi, Younis Khan.
Delhi Daredevils (from): Virender Sehwag (captain), Rajat Bhatia, AB de Villiers, Shikhar Dhawan, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Gautam Gambhir, Brett Geeves, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Glenn McGrath, Farveez Maharoof, Yo Mahesh, Mithun Manhas, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Asif, Yogesh Nagar, Pradeep Sangwan, Shoaib Malik, Mayank Tehlan, Manoj Tiwary, Tejashwi Yadav.