Hubballi, Sep 2: The Rajnagar Stadium here is togged up in festive atmosphere and the lush green outfield adds to the beauty of the surroundings which boasts of undulating hills and green canopy shaped from trees.
These are signs that herald the start of the much-awaited Karnataka Premier League (KPL) 2015 Twenty20 tournament from tomorrow (September 3).
While the stadium was a hub of activity with the TV crew setting up their paraphernalia, the ground staff were busy giving last minute touches to the square and the Association management were busy tying up loose ends before the mega event kicks off.
All match days here till September 10 will witness double headers, the first contest starting at 1.30 PM and the second slated for 5.30 PM.
Eight teams are in the fray, including a film actors XI - Rockstars. Former India Test players Sunil Joshi, Venkatesh Prasad and David Johnson will be seen in action for the Rockstars.
With the teams being evenly matched where Karnataka's top stars are concerned, excitement and expectations are high and the adrenaline is flowing amongst the teams.
The tournament will see the Kookaburra white ball being used and for the first time the KPL will witness the Qualifiers and Eliminator coming into play.
Special stands have been earmarked for school children and women and the children will be allowed free entry into the stadium to experience live action.
Twice finalists, including last year, Belagavi Panthers and second edition title winners Mangalore United will set the ball rolling in the 4th edition of the tournament.
"Embarrassment of riches", was how J Arun Kumar (JAK), batting coach of Belagavi Panthers, put it talking of the talent available to him.
"We have a wonderful team that has some good all-rounder's. Deciding on the eleven for any day is a tough task", he said adding, "We will have to keep our heads firmly on our shoulders and ensure we cross that line between being finalists and winners".
Skipper Vinay Kumar, who has led Karnataka to a record, back-to-back triple national titles, said, "I have told my players that having talent is not enough if that talent is not put to use. We need to ensure that we do justice to the talent the team has and make this edition a winning one for us".
Defending champions Mysuru Warriors will take on newcomers to the KPL fold, Namma Shivamogga in the 2nd match of the day.
KPL 2015 matches will be telecast live on Sony Six. Tickets for the matches will be available in Hubbali at Rajnagar Stadium (Gate 4), Oasis Mall and online on bookmyshow.com
Tomorrow's matches (September 3)
1.30 PM: Mangalore United Vs Belagavi Panthers
5.30 PM: Mysuru Warriors Vs Namma Shivamogga
Belagavi Panthers: R Vinay Kumar (captain), Abhishek Reddy, Chiranjeevi GS, Nitin Mulki, Praveen Dubey, Pushtak Nag, Stalin Hoover, Sumit Shirgurkar, Suresh Karani, Vinu Prasad, Zeeshan Ali Sayyed, Sharath HS, Mayank Agarwal, Jonathan R, KN Bharath, Sharath Srinivas, Mahesh Patil and Nikith Sayanmal.
Mangalore United: Rohit Sabharwal, Karun Nair, Udit Patel, Nishchith Raj, Bharat Narayan Prasad, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Praveen Kumar B, Akshay Ballal, Nihal Shilar, KC Avinash, Shishir Bhavane, Rohan Kadam, Rahul Gautam, Mashooq Hussain, Abhishek Bhat, Ronit More, Syed Moinudeen, Pradeep T, Mitrakanth Yadav and Muhafiz A Khader.
Mysuru Warriors: Manish Pandey (captain), CM Gautam, Shantaraju G, Bharath N, Manjesh Reddy, R Madhusudhan, K Gowtham, DH Sunil Kumar, CK Akshay, Shoaib Manager, Dharshan MB, Jagadeesha Suchith, Arjun Hoysala, Anand Doddamani, Naveen MG, David Mathias, Nikin Jose Tejas Subramanya, Nihal Ullal and Kuldeep Kumar.
Namma Shivamogga: Stuart Binny (captain), Sadiq Kirmani, Abrar Kazi, D Raghavendra, Hoysala K, Aditya B Sagar, Vijay Kumar HR, Daivik Vishwanath, Siddarth KV, Vikram Venkatesh, Shreyas Gopal, Abdul Khader, Milind Ramesh, Samrath Ooty, Dinesh Borwankar, Mir Kunian Abbas, Pradeep Gangadhar, Bhuvesh, Murali Krishna and Darshan.