Jr. Tendulkar vs Jr. Lara
Sachin Tendulkar is the man in the spotlight, as Mumbai Indians take on the only non-IPL team in this year’s CL T-20, Trinidad and Tobago. This time however, Sachin is joined in the spotlight, if not overshadowed by two cricketers that grew up idolizing himself and his other illustrial rival, Mr. Brian Charles Lara. I am talking about Rohit Sharma and Darren Bravo.
Rohit Sharma has been hinting at genius ever since he announced his arrival on the international scene many moons ago during the 2008 tri-series finals in Australia where Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma shared a critical partnership in India’s win in the 1st final. Since then Rohit has surely but steadily building on his promise and finally delivered his biggest contributions – both to Team India and his franchise team, in the last 12 months. For Team India, he slotted into the opener role in ODIs – where along with Shikhar Dhawan he played an instrumental role in India winning the Champions Trophy. As for his franchise, which he leads so admirably, he has led them to their long-coveted IPL trophy and has already played “Hand-of-GOD” knock to save them from being eliminated in this tournament.
Darren Bravo as Jr. Lara is a very obvious comparison. Darren Bravo has got the Lara imitation going to the very maximum. That gorgeous back-lift which Lara employed in assaulting and destroying the careers of many bowlers, the elegant footwork – another weapon Lara used to clinically dominate spinners and pace bowlers alike, is very much visible when Bravo Jr. gets to bat. Today he will be helping his team Trinidad and Tobago get to the final of a tournament that really put Trinidad and Tobago back on the International Cricket map after Lara’s retirement.
Mumbai Indians, as is the characteristic of IPL teams, is power packed with star players. Their batting line-up has one big-name after another walking out – starting with one of the greatest stars in Cricket, if not the greatest – Mr. India, Sachin Tendulkar. The stars were shining bright as Mumbai made a mockery of a tricky target in their last league match. Their fans will hope that they continue that sizzling form, something they will need to stop a force as dynamic and exciting as the team from the Caribbean Island. One of the Mumbai stars who is yet to join the party is Harbhajan Singh. On spin-friendly track, his contribution will be critical.
Spin department is one thing Trinidad have nothing to worry about. The magical Sunil Narine will make sure Trinidad does everything in their realm of possibility to ensure the final is not an all IPL final. To see how a team of hardworking players can take down a team of stars, look no further than yesterday’s CL T-20 Semi-Final where Rajasthan Royals ushered out the well-heralded Chennai Super Kings. Trinidad’s success in the match easily boils down to how well their skipper Denesh Ramdin [Yes, he of the “Yeah Viv, talk na” comment fame], handles the stars in his own team – Sunil Narine and Darren “Jr.Lara” Bravo.
Prediction: Trinidad and Tobago to add Caribbean Calypso flavor to this tournament by knocking Mumbai Indians out in a photo-finish.