IPL 2009: How the semi-finalists stack up

Team Delhi – No. 1, 20 pts 

Strengths:  A solid middle order. Bowling has been effective despite benching McGrath

Weaknesses:  The team hasn’t been tested in close games. Sehwag and Gambhir have been patchy, though they fired in the last match

Opportunity:  To justify their tag of pre-tournament favourites

Threat: Law of averages might result in middle order failing to fire at crunch time

Team Chennai – No. 2, 17 pts

Strengths: Prolific Hayden and Raina. Wily Murali and Jakati. A canny skipper in Dhoni

Weaknesses:  Have often leaked runs at the death and made costly fielding errors

Opportunity:  To make up for that narrow loss to Team Jaipur in last year’s final

Threat:  Have to guard against top-order wobble as middle has tended to crumble under pressure

Team Hyderabad – No. 4, 14 pts

Strengths:  Gilchrist, Symonds have been explosive and Rohit Sharma has sizzled with both bat and ball. R P Singh and Pragyan Ojha can be dangerous

Weaknesses:  Tend to implode if big names have an off day

Opportunity:  To redeem themselves after their disastrous bottom ranking last year

Threat: Must guard against attack of nerves

Team Bangalore – No. 3, 16 pts

Strengths: Wealth of experience, including Kumble and Kallis. An exciting new find in Manish Pandey

Weaknesses: Have been too inconsistent

Opportunity: To wipe out last year’s humiliation, when they finished 7th

Threat: New-ball bowlers will need to be at their best to combat the awesome batting line-up of Team Chennai.

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