Indian Premier League’s finest taking on the best T20 teams of the world as the much awaited Champions League T20 kicks off with the qualifiers on Saturday..
And it’s back! After a season of international cricket, the league action returns with the Indian Premier League’s finest taking on the best T20 teams of the world as the much awaited Champions League T20 kicks off with the qualifiers on Saturday.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians will be rolling into action as they are set to take on the acid test of Pakistan T20 side, Lahore Lions in the opening clash at Raipur on Saturday.
After the first league game, in the coming days Mumbai will also face the Northern Knights and the Southern Express in the qualifiers in their bid to progress through to the group stage. Mumbai come into this game without their perennial skipper Rohit Sharma who is out nursing a finger injury. In place, the team management have appointed West Indian calypso, Kieron Pollard as the skipper.
Much of the batting talent relies on the likes of Corey Anderson, Mike Hussey, Lendl Simmons and Indian contingent of Ambati Rayudu and Aditya Tare. Mumbai Indians might be short on the batting front but skipper Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga will be the key assets going into this qualifiers. A lot will also depend on the form of Corey Anderson, Michael Hussey, Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu if the defending champions have to go the distance.
The coaching staff of Anil Kumble and John Wright might work wonders as some of the biggest stars take centrestage. Mumbai’s side possess one of the best quality players in the world of cricket and thus, they are one of the favourites to go through the group stages. Lasith Malinga is considered as one of the top notch bowler in T20 cricket and his form will be crucial.
On the other hand, the team from Pakistan Lahore Lions will bank on their national stars Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema and Ahmed Shehzad to overcome the juggernaut of Mumbai Indians. Despite a wealth of stars in the side, consistency is under question for the Lahore side. The level of fielding as well as bowling will be the difference amongst the two teams when they meet on Saturday.
Even though Mumbai will miss the quick feet of Rohit Sharma, the availability of the international stars might just be too hot to handle for this Pakistan team.
Mumbai Indians: Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Aditya Tare (wk), Jalaj Saxena, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Michael Hussey, Kieron Pollard (c), Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Marchant de Lange, Lendl Simmons.
Lahore Lions: Mohammad Hafeez (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Siddique Khan, Mohammad Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Salman Ali, Asif Raza, Mohammad Mustafa Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Imran Ali, Saad Naseem, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor.