Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Confident TN set for Rajasthan clash in semifinal

A well-oiled Tamil Nadu takes on Rajasthan in a rematch of last season’s semifinals in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.

TN batsman M. Shahrukh Khan hammered an unbeaten 40 off 19 balls to guide his side to victory against Himachal in the quarterfinal.   -  TWITTER/@BCCIDomestic

A confident and well-oiled Tamil Nadu takes on Rajasthan in a rematch of last season’s semifinals in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Ahead of its quarterfinal clash against Himachal Pradesh, an area of concern for TN was that its middle order was untested.

However, in that game, the middle order had to step up after being reduced to 66 for 5 chasing 136. B. Aparajith and M. Shahrukh Khan rose to the occasion to help TN chase down the total with relative ease in the end.

In Rajasthan, TN faces an opponent with a strong bowling unit but does not have enough batting firepower. Rajasthan’s batting depends heavily on three key players in Mahipal Lomror, Ankit Lamba and skipper Ashok Menaria - the only players to have scored half-centuries so far.

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Rajasthan also doesn’t have the services of the Chahar brothers - Rahul is with the Indian camp in Chennai while Deepak is at the NCA in Bengaluru with a niggle.

While it managed well in the quarterfinal without the duo, it was against a relatively weak side in Bihar that came through from the Plate group.

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Against TN, its bowling unit of Aniket Choudhary, Khaleel Ahmed and Ravi Bishnoi will need to step up to keep TN quiet.

TN coach D. Vasu said, “Yes they have a strong bowling attack, so we should be watchful. At the same time, we have done our homework and confident of doing well.”

With Sandeep Warrier joining the Indian camp, Vasu said the final call on whether the team goes for a pacer (Aswin Crist or G. Periyasamy) or draft in a spinner like M. Siddharth will be decided on the type of wicket that is on offer.