Mumbai, April 6: Returning after serving a two-year suspension, two-time winners Chennai Super Kings will take on reigning champions Mumbai Indians in the opening match of the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede stadium here on Saturday (April 7).
Mumbai Indians, led by Rohit Sharma, will have their task cut out against Chennai Super Kings under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Chennai would surely like to begin their first campaign in two years with a bang against their arch-rivals. To give an extra dimension to the contest will be the sight of veteran offie Harbhajan Singh turning out in CSK yellow against a side which he served with distinction for 10 years.
Mumbai will bank on their skipper Rohit, who has kept the number of his batting position under wraps for this game. Rohit has showed that when he gets going no bowling attack can stop him and he would hope for a big knock in the first game to boost his and the team's confidence.
Apart from him, they have a good batting-line up with the likes of West Indians Evin Lewis and Kieron Pollard, and local talent Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Siddesh Lad.
The role of Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - as all-rounders will also be crucial. This time Mumbai will also miss the services of pacer Lasith Malinga as a player although the Sri Lankan continues his association with the hosts as their bowling mentor.
Mumbai also have one of the finest death bowlers currently in the world in Jasprit Bumrah. Coach Mahela Jayawardane would expect other bowlers like Australian Pat Cummins, Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman to deliver.
Mumbai's spin department is inexperienced with young spinners Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy and Sri Lankan Akila Dananjaya expected to deliver the goods on a track expected to provide spin as well as bounce.
Chennai, on the other hand, have a more settled team as they have retained their core players like Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.
They also have other experienced players in Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, South African Faf Du Plessis, Sam Billings and Shane Watson.
On the bowling front, Harbhajan, Karn Sharma and Mumbai and India pacer Shardul Thakur are well versed with the conditions at the Wankhede.
Teams (From): Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma(capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Pat Cummins, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan.
Match starts at: 8 pm
Live on: Star Sports
Streaming on: Hotstar