Last year's runner-ups Tamil Nadu take on Rajasthan in a scintillating semifinal in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Tamil Nadu beat Himachal Pradesh in their quarterfinal. They restricted them to just 135 courtesy Sonu Yadav's fantastic spell of 3 wickets for 14 runs in four overs.
Despite a shaky start where they were reduced to 25 for 3, Baba Aparajith and Shahrukh Khan hit more than 75 runs in 5 overs to take their side home.
On the other hand, Rajasthan put on 164 onboard against Bihar. Mahipal Lomror kept his best reserved for the big match as he took the bowling attack apart with his 37-ball 78.
Despite Mangal Mahrour's knock of 68 runs, Bihar fell short by 16 runs. Aniket Choudhary and Chandrapal Singh maintained a tight leash with the ball not giving away any free runs.
Tamil Nadu will miss the services of Sandeep Warrier who has been selected as a net bowler for India ahead of the test series against England. G Periyaswamy or Aswin Crist may replace him. Rajasthan will mostly retain the same squad that played in the quarterfinals. They will be without the Chahar brothers, Rahul and Deepak. Rahul is in Chennai for the England test series. Deepak is in the NCA in Bengaluru recovering from a small niggle.
Pitch and Conditions
Out of the 4 quarterfinal matches played in the newly constructed Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, the chasing team has won 3 out of 4 times. Totals in the range of 160-170 can be successfully defended if the bowlers get their act together. Clear weather is expected to prevail without any chances of rain. Dew will not be a factor as the match starts in the afternoon.
Probable Playing XI
Tamil Nadu (TN): Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, Baba Aparajith, Arun Karthik, Sonu Yadav Dinesh Karthik, Shahrukh Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, G Periyaswamy/ Aswin Christ, M Mohammed, Murugan Ashwin
Rajasthan (Raj): Bharat Sharma, Ankit Lamba, Ashok Menaria, Mahipal Lomror, Rajesh Bishnoi, Arjit Gupta, Chandrapal Singh, Aniket Choudhary, Ravi Bishnoi, Khaleel Ahmed, Akash Singh
Shahrukh Khan (TN) vs Aniket Choudhary (RAJ)
Put in a tricky situation, the 25-year-old Shahrukh stood up for the occasion with a blistering 19-ball 40. He has played a lot in the TNPL and used that experience to good effect in this tournament.
Choudhary took 1 wicket for 25 runs in the last game. The left-arm pacer with a skiddy bowling action can unsettle batsmen with his wily cutters. He has been a consistent performer for Rajasthan for close to a decade.
Sonu Yadav (TN) vs Mahipal Lomror (RAJ)
Lomror played a calculative knock of 78 in the previous match taking his team to a respectable total. He is a fearless southpaw who loves to take the attack to the bowlers. He has converted his small cameos into big scores playing in the middle order.
Playing domestic T20's for the first time for Tamil Nadu, Sonu has been a revelation taking 7 wickets in 3 matches. His biggest strength is that he can bowl at any stage of the innings and make important breakthroughs.
Tamil Nadu looks more balanced in all the departments and will aim to continue their unbeaten run in the tournament and reach their second successive final. Rajasthan will bank on their bench strength to deliver again in a high-stakes clash.
Cricwizz predicts Tamil Nadu to win the match