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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Semi-Finals Schedule, Line UP and Venue of IPL 2008

The group stage matches of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008 finished yesterday with the match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings. So, there are only three matches: two semi finals and the final- are left to decide the champions of IPL 2008 Twenty20 competition. Indian Premier League (IPL) attracted the cricket loving Indian fans thanks to the Twenty20 format of the tournament. Most of the matches were full of excitement because of big hits and the uncertainty over the result of the match. The four semi finalists of IPL 2008 Twenty20 are: Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils. The competition was so stiff in the tournament that the full semi final line up was confirmed on the day before the group stage matches finished. Now, let us see the semi final line up of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008 with schedule and venue:

Competing Teams
30 May 2008
1st Semi-Final
Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals
20:00 Local
14:30 GMT
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
31 May 2008
2nd Semi Final
Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab
20:00 Local
14:30 GMT
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
1 June 2008
20:00 Local
14:30 GMT
Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai

Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals finished in the top of the IPL point table at the end of the group stage with 22 points from 14 matches, though they were not among the favorites at the beginning of the tournament. Rajasthan, in fact, spent least amount of money in the player auction and the value of the Rajasthan franchise of IPL is also least among the eight Indian Premier League franchise. However, interestingly, Rajasthan played very well and under the captaincy and coaching of Shane Warne This Australian leg spinner led the team from the front and carried out a impressive performance throughout the tournament. Rajasthan Royals is the first IPL team who first confirmed their semi final berth in the tournament with few matches left in the tournament. Rajasthan recorded 11 victories against three defeats in the group stage of IPL 2008. Shane Watson had a huge contribution to the success of Rajasthan with both bat and bowl. Yusuf Pathan has been successful with his big hitting. In bowling, Rajasthan received an excellent service from Pakistani left hand pacer Sohail Tanvir and Captain Shane Warne. Though Rajasthan ended the group stage with a defeat in the last match against Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan is still most favorite in the title run of IPL 2008 tournament.

Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab did not have a good start in the tournament, but Punjab gradually regained their form with the tournament approaching. Punjab finished second in the point table with 20 points thanks to 10 victories against four loses in the group stage. In the last match of the tournament, Punjab clinched an inspiration victory over leader Rajasthan Royals. So, they will face Chennai Super Kings with lots of confidence in the second semi final of the tournament.

For Kings XI Punjab, Shaun Marsh is the best performer with his devastating batting and he is currently the leading run scorer in the tournament with 593 runs. For bowling, Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Irfan Pathan all played very well to help Punjab progress to the semi final. Though Captain Yuvraj Singh is yet to come back with his prime form, it is expected that Kiings XI Punjab will be throw a big challenge for Chennai in the semi final.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai started the tournament as one of the most favorites in IPL 2008. They got off to a good start as well. With eight victories and six defeats, you may not impress that much, but Chennai is a balanced side and capable of winning against any sides in the tournament. They lost the momentum during in the middle of group stage matches, but could manage to get the ticket of semi final finishing third in the point table with 16 points from 14 group matches. I have already mentioned that Chennai will face Punjab in the second semi final of IPL 2008. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the highest scorer for Chennai with 385 runs so far in the tournament. Manpreet Gony is the most successful bowler for Chennai Super Kings with 14 wickets in the tournament.

Delhi Daredevils
Delhi Daredevils was the last team to progress to the semi final of IPL 2008 competition. Delhi projected seven victories, six defeats and another match was washed out due to rain which they shared point with Kolkata and finished fourth in the table with 15 points. Delhi’s main strength is their opening partnership between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. In fact, Gautam Gambhir is the second highest run scorer of the tournament so far with 523 runs. For bowling, Delhi Daredevils received best service from Yo Mahesh who took 14 wickets from 10 matches. Delhi Daredevils will have to face Rajasthan Royals in the first semi final of the tournament. It is expected that Rajasthan is going to face a tough challenge in the match from Delhi Daredevils. Delhi has a balanced squad that could stand against any side in IPL 2008 tournament.

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