Titans a win away from semis
Match factsMonday, September 30, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
With Chennai Super Kings through to the semi-finals and Brisbane Heat out of the competition, the race for the second semi-final spot in Group B is down to three teams. Titans are currently in second place with eight points and a game to play. Their opponents on Monday, Trinidad & Tobago, have two more to play and are on four points. A win for Titans will take them to the semi-finals, consigning the remaining games in the group to dead rubbers. A win for T&T will open up the group again, creating a scenario where there could be three teams tied on eight points, with net run rate coming in to play.
T&T will be playing after a gap of six days. Their bowlers set up their opening victory against Brisbane Heat, and they applied the same pressure against Sunrisers Hyderabad, until they ran into Thisara Perera. The dew became a decisive factor in their defence of 160 and, as a result, the bowlers suffered with their lengths and the fielders struggled to hold on to their catches.
Titans are coming off a crushing victory against Sunrisers. Having restricted Sunrisers to an underwhelming 145 after a wayward start, their top order was hardly stretched in the chase. As was expected from South African sides, the fielding was sharp enough to pin down the opposition.
The weather, however, will be a factor. Incessant rain in Ahmedabad washed out the double-header on September 23 but the weather persisted, forcing the match between Lions and Mumbai Indians to be moved to Jaipur. There were fears that Monday's double-header would be shifted out too, but the rain has ceased in the last few days, allowing the ground staff to get the playing surface ready. However, scattered storms are predicted for Monday and it will keep the organisers on their toes, having taken the risk of not shifting the matches for safety's sake.
In the spotlightRowan Richards, the left-arm fast bowler, is currently leading the wicket charts for Titans with six wickets, and he has also been economical, at 6.16 per over. He has picked wickets in all three games, bowling first change.
Sunil Narine might not command a place in the West Indies Test squad, but is an automatic selection for club or country in T20s. Against Sunrisers, he got the ball to turn, skid and beat the bat regularly to finish with top figures of 4 for 9 from his four overs, even as the other T&T bowlers were struggling to come to terms with the dew. Those in the Titans line-up who haven't faced him earlier will be wary.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo