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Bangalore looking to cause semi final upset

The Wanderers has hosted many dramatic days of cricket, but few will match the next two days of Season 2009, as the magic of the DLF Indian Premier League now moves to Johannesburg this weekend.

The action starts tomorrow at the Bull – Ring with the second Semi Final between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Chennai Super Kings.

Will the dream run for the Royal Challengers Bangalore continue or will it meet a swift end at the hands of the last year’s losing finalist the Chennai Super Kings that is the question that will be asked of Anil Kumble’s Men in Red tomorrow.

Both the teams have taken contrasting routes to reach the last-four stage as the Chennai Super Kings under India Captain M. S Dhoni dominated the starting stages of the league before suffering some close defeats. The Royal Challengers Bangalore on the other hand have had to pick themselves off the mat and fight for their place in the Semi Finals winning the last four games on the trot after a change of guard.

Incidentally, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were one of the two bottom placed teams in the first edition and have done a remarkable job in Season 2009 of the DLF Indian Premier League to reach the last four.

Gentleman Cricketer and Indian Spin Legend – Anil Kumble has been at the heart of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s resurgence. And not surprising then that his team is playing some of its best cricket in the last two years and it will not be a surprise if they go on and crush the dream of the Chennai Super Kings to reach the final of the DLF Indian Premier League.

But for that to happen the bowlers of the Royal Challengers Bangalore will have to contain with the extraordinary batting might of the Chennai Super Kings that boasts players of the caliber of Matthew Hayden, Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni all of whom have displayed some awesome batting in Season 2009. Mathew Hayden with a colossal 546 runs from a mere 11 matches has treated all comers with complete and utter nonchalance.

No wonder then that he leads the Orange Cap standings at the end of the league phase of Season 2009. Suresh Raina with 414 runs is placed at number three in the Orange Cap standings and that in a nutshell is what the Bangalore Royal Challengers will have to contend with in terms of the batting arsenal that the Chennai Super Kings possesses.

Shane Warne – Captain of the Rajasthan Royals the team that had won the inaugural edition of the DLF Indian Premier League in Season 2009 has predicted that a worthy successor to their crown would be the Chennai Super Kings.

"It feels good when somebody reckons you as the favourites in the tournament," said MS Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai Super Kings, who said his team must be careful not to make the same mistakes they had done before.

"Till now, we have had made some mistakes, but from now onwards, 15 minutes of madness and we can lose the match. From now on, it will be tricky," said Dhoni.

"From now on, it will be more of a lottery system. If one batsman has a good day, then he can take the team through. One can say that till now, one had to play as a team consistently, but now onwards, it will be about three hours. If somebody like Matt Hayden or a Suresh Raina or a bowler like Muttiah Muralitharan has a good day, then he can see our team through," said Dhoni.

Anil Kumble, who took over the captaincy of the Royal Challengers Bangalore from Kevin Pietersen after he returned to England, agreed with Dhoni that the teams would start even again in the Semi Finals. After the poor performance of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural edition of the IPL last year in India, reaching the Semi Finals was a tremendous achievement.

"It's a great thing for us considering what happened last year. Even the start, we started well this year and then slumped to four losses in a row and then came back again," said Kumble.

"I'm happy to get into the semis. From here anybody can win on their day. So we back ourselves with the way we played in the last four games. It's been brilliant and will take this confidence going into the semifinal."

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