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Knight Riders sharpen swords to take on Challengers in IPL opener

Bangalore, Apr 17 (UNI) The cash-rich, extravagant Indian Professional League (IPL), that has taken the world of cricket by storm, will kick off here tomorrow with a 'Royal' battle between Kolkata's Night Knights and Challengers, Bangalore in the inaugural Twenty-20 competition at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here.

The two teams, led by former Indian captains Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, respectiely, may not be flamboyant but are 'classy' as the two rivals put it.

Dravid said Bangalore not able to 'bag' young flamboyant players like M S Dhoni or its own Robin Uthappa in the much hyped auction, will not hurt the team as the seasoned campaigners were capable of taking the team to the top.

Kolkata too may not have the 'slam bangers' in the T20 mould, but has a solid batting line up in Australian captain Ricky Ponting, West Indian captain Chris Gayle, keeper batsmen Brendon McCullum from New Zealand and Indian speed spearhead Ishant Sharma.

The local team face injury threat as ace leg spinner and India's Test captain Anil Kumble is not likely to play tomorrow due to the persisting groin injury while Zaheer Khan will have to prove his fitness before tomorrow night's match.

For Kolkata, it is a problem of a different kind as tearaway Pakistani Shoaib Akthar is now a non starter in the tournament, following the five-year ban slapped by PCB.


Story first published: Thursday, April 17, 2008, 15:36 [IST]
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