Mumbai Indians face Daredevils' challenge

Sachins men lock horns with new-look Delhi outfit

Raring to go: Mumbai Indians’ skipper Sachin Tendulkar limbers up ahead of their match against Delhi Daredevils. PTI

There are enough ingredients for a mouthwatering contest as two of the biggest names in Indian cricket will be out to prove their supremacy.

Mumbai Indians, who were the finalists last year, are easily the favourites on paper with Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard and Andrew Symonds ready to take any attack to the cleaners with their murderous approach.

For Delhi Daredevils, who lost as many as seven (Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, Ashish Nehra, Pradeep Sangwan, Daniel Vettori, Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia) of their key players, it will be a real challenge to do well with a set-up that neither consists of any big international names nor an Indian player of repute save the skipper and South African speedster Morne Morkel.

The team consists of mainly India discards and fringe players who are trying to claw their way back into the national team. Therefore, Sehwag certainly won’t have the cushion that Tendulkar will have in his team.

After tasting World Cup triumph in his sixth attempt, the iconic batsman would definitely like to add an IPL crown to his long list of accomplishments. With the Mumbai Indians management deciding to retain four players (Tendulkar, Pollard, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga), the core of the team is intact.

Also, the addition of the talented Rohit Sharma, New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin and controversial Australian batsman Symonds gives the impetus to the line-up.

The Kotla pitch is likely to be on the slower side, which means Harbhajan’s four overs and Malinga’s toe-crushing yorkers can be the key to Mumbai’s success.

If Mumbai’s bowling is a bit on the thinner side, Delhi’s batting will largely depend on the kind of start that Sehwag and David Warner will give.

The problem is Delhi Daredevils’ middle-order, which is pretty brittle. One doesn’t know how effective former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan would be as he is coming back from a long lay-off.

The bowling line-up is a better one with Morkel spearheading the attack. The team has adequate pace back-up in veteran Ajit Agarkar, Bengal speedster Ashok Dinda and newcomer Varun Aaron.

Teams (from): Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (capt), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Rajagopal Sathish, Rohit Sharma, T Suman, Pawan Suyal, Andrew Symonds, Abu Nechim, Aiden Blizzard, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dilhara Fernando, James Franklin, Harbhajan Singh, Moises Henriques, Davy Jacobs, Sarul Kanwar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga, Ali Murtaza, Munaf Patel, Aditya Tare, Santosh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav.

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (capt), Varun Aaron, Ajit Agarkar, Travis Birt, Robin Bist, Unmukt Chand, Ajit Chandila, Ashok Dinda, Aaron Finch, Robert Frylinck, James Hopes, Colin Ingram, Andrew McDonald, Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Yogesh Nagar, Prashant Naik, Naman Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Rajesh Pawar, Aavishkar Salvi, Sridharan Sriram, Roelof van der Merwe, Venugopal Rao, Vikas Mishra, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Tejashwi Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Vivek Yadav.

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