Shane Watson is one of the best T20 players in the world. Picture: AFP/au.eurosport.com
Indian Premier League heavyweights Rajasthan and Chennai meet in the first Champions League Twenty20 semi-final on Friday night, with a place in the tournament decider at stake for the victor. The Royals topped Group A as the only unbeaten team in the competition after easing past Mumbai, Otago, the Lions and Perth during the group stage, while Chennai lost its unbeaten record and top spot in Group B against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
Despite boasting a trio of Australian Twenty20 stars in Shane Watson , Brad Hodge and James Faulkner, the Royals success at this event has been built on a series of strong performances from unheralded local players. Leading runscorer Ajinkya Rahane has played several matches for India but teenage top order batsman Sanju Samson is still making his name in the game. 41 year-old legspinner Pravin Tambe has been the find of the tournament with seven wickets from just three matches and has been ably supported by opening bowler Vikramjeet Malik.
While the Rajasthan XI is largely made up of ‘no frills’ players, the Chennai Super Kings lineup reads like a ‘who’s who’ of international cricket. International T20 stars Mike Hussey , Dwayne Bravo and Albie Morkel complement a host of Indian stars including MS Dhoni , Suresh Raina and Ravi Ashwin. Raina was the second leading runscorer during the group stage of the tournament with 192 runs from four innings and will again have a pivotal role to play for his side at the top of the order.
These sides met twice during the 2013 Indian Premier League season, with the side hosting the match winning on both occasions.
Click here to bet on Champions League Twenty20 semi-final matches