Panthers lock horns with the ARCS in the first semi-final of Season 2

The first knockout game of the tournament with see last year’s bottom two sides battle compete against each other.

With the league stages of the T20 Mumbai coming to a close, the action shifts towards the semi-finals as the table toppers from Group A face the runners-up from Group B.  The game conjured up will be a North Mumbai derby, with the North Mumbai Panthers facing the ARCS Andheri. The two sides met earlier in the competition, when the ARCS narrowly edging the closely contested game thanks to a scintillating knock of 71* from Shubham Ranjane. Heading into the semi-final, the Panthers would be keen to get their revenge and make it a one apiece against the ARCS for Season 2.

Here’s a look at what to expect for the two teams heading into the semi-final.

North Mumbai Panthers

After getting a resounding win over reigning champions Triumph Knights Mumbai North East, the Panthers would be high on confidence heading into Friday. The core of their batting unit of Vikrant Auti, Prithvi Shaw, Karan Nande and Sairaj Patil have all been in good form this season, Patil in particular looking in fine fettle after scoring a gritty fifty against the Knights last time around. Captain Shaw has been getting starts for his team in every game; but has managed to covered only one of those into a half-century. He would be eyeing a big score in the semi-final to take his side through to their first final.

The bowling unit for the Panthers too has looked sturdy thus far, supported mainly with some terrific spin bowling. With wise, old fox Pravin Tambe leading the line, the likes of Rahul Sawant and Prathamesh Dake too have produced economical spells while also picking up a few wickets. Heading into the crucial semi-final, the Panthers would be unlikely to tweak their line-up and continuing using their spin arsenal to thwart the opposition.

ARCS Andheri

An inspired performance by veteran Iqbal Abdulla helped them get over the line in a thrilling contest against the Eagle Thane Strikers to seal their spot in the semi-finals as runners-up of Group B. Their opener Akhil Herwadkar started off with two match-winning fifties; but has failed to get into double digits in the previous two games. Heading into Friday, the veteran southpaw would be looking to improve his recent performances. The ARCS though would be confident of their batting unit with Kevin Almeida, Shubham Ranjane and Azhar Ansari finding their form.

On the bowling front, they too are reliant on their spin unit, with Abdulla and Salil Agharkar being their most consistent performer. Pacer Tushar Deshpande too has had a good tournament and his experience should come in handy for the ARCS come Friday. The only issue for the franchise would be finding a quality fifth bowler to finish the spells, as part-time bowlers like of Ranjane and Almeida have proved to be expensive.

Kya Bolta Hai?

Both these sides have been very similar in that they have a strong batting core as well as that they rely mainly on their spin bowlers. The team that can handle the spinners better could emerge victorious in this game.

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