BSL4: Its time for the Semi-finals !!!

Semi-Final I - TC vs AA (12.30 pm on 9th December 2017)

·  Form: TC has had a good run with 4 consecutive wins in the Master’s Group, one of them coming against AA in a close contest two weekends ago. TC have been convincing in every match they have played in the tournament and their only loss to Zombie Killers on the opening weekend can be attributed to early tournament jitters. AA, on the other hand, has lost a couple of matches of late and thus may start off on the back-foot in that regard.Two weekends ago, AA looked like the team to beat having won three consecutive matches after their opening game defeat and thereafter AA batsmen has made batting look easy on a difficult pitch. But in the last two games, their frailties have been exposed somewhat and they will need to fight for every inch against an in-form TC side.

The Centaurs
Assault Ayyannars
Round 1
Lost to ZK by 2 wickets
Lost against RP by 3 wickets
Round 1
Won against ZK by 23 runs
Won against RP by 54 runs
Round 2 – DoD
Won against RS by 30 runs
Won against DF by 1 run
Round 2 – DoD
Won against SS by 55 runs
Won against SS by 5 wickets
Round 2 – DoD
Won against AA by 3 runs
Lost against TC by 3 runs
Round 2 – DoD
Won against DF by 9 wickets
Lost against RS by 2 wickets

·  Players to watch outOn paper, both these teams have so many individual players who can turn the match on its head. If AA have the edge in batting, TC have the edge in bowling. TC only have 1 guy who has scored more than 100 runs in this tournament, the stylish southpaw Avinash BM (127 runs). However, they have got contributions from Suresh D (90 runs) and Raghuraman (1 fifty) and the rest of the middle order when needed. AA have an in-form batting line-up with 4 batsmen in the top 10 list of run-scorers: “Mr.Consistent”, Saleem Mallick (153 runs, 4 30+scores), Ravee Kumar (131 runs), Karthik Gopalan (127 runs) and Kishore DK (114 runs). With the ball, TC have been the best team by far and have conceded runs at a measly 4.2 runs an over in this tournament. They have been led superbly by Bharath Sequeira (Economy 3.85), Ram Bhat (12 wickets, average 4.5) and Suresh D (10 wickets, economy 3.4). AA having scored the maximum runs have also conceded the maximum runs in the tournament. Their best bowler has been Saleem Mallick with 9 wickets but even he has gone at 5.3 runs an over.

·   Issues for the teamsFor AA, the main thing will be trying to bat first and putting up a total that is good enough for its bowlers to defend. While its bowlers have taken wickets, they have conceded a lot of runs as well. They need to guard against this because the batsmen cannot be expected to succeed every single time. TC have tended to put up a decent score and then use a phalanx of bowlers to outwit its opponents almost every time. However, key batsmen Anand Velu and Varun Seth haven’t yet made a big impact on this tournament. Going into the game, TC are likely to be without Bharath (family emergency) and Ram– two of their best bowlers. This will be a big loss for the team but mentor Prashant Menon will be hoping the likes of Ikpreet, Laxman, Ajit Hegde and Lijju put their hands up and grasp this opportunity. 

·   Battle within the War:

Raghuraman vs Kishore DK – Raghuraman is known to attack from the word go and would love to take on Kishore who has been quite expensive with the ball. Should Raghu succeed in this battle, TC may well look at a big total on the board.

Ravee Kumar vs Gaurav Bisht – Ravee has been in good form and loves giving attacking starts to his team. The last time these two teams met, Ravee had taken Gaurav to the cleaners. Gauravthough, came back well to win the match in the last over. This contest will set the flow for the innings.

Saleem Mallick vs Suresh D – Saleem loves attacking spinners and Suresh has been a difficult bowler to score against as evidenced by his economy rate. It remains to be seen whether Saleem the bait and attacks Suresh or whether Suresh prevails in stopping the flow of runs yet again.

·   Mentor Speak:

Prashant Menon: “TC have gelled well as a team, every single player has contributed in whatever way he can.Credit to Bharath for setting the tone with his immaculate planning and preparation. We would like to carry our form and momentum into the semis and are up against a formidable AA. We would like to stick to our plans and hope to maintain our calm in tense situations as it will be a close game”

Karthik Gopalan: AA is a young side lead amiably by Ravee. Team has an abundance of talent, but lacks the experience. The onus will on senior members in the team to guide the youngsters. Centaurs is a strong side and they have a never say die attitude. AA will be smarting from the losses from winning positions. Centaurs have the momentum. AA will need to pull together all its resources and compete in all departments. There is nothing much to choose between the teams. It will be about who can hold their nerve and get the small things right. Expect a cracker of a contest.”


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