Preview: Mumbai Indians (MI) will aim to get their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 campaign off to a winning start when they take on debutants Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG) in the opening match of the cash-rich T20 tournament at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.
Mumbai who have won the title twice in 2013 and 2015, have strengthened their squad even more, thanks to the players' auction earlier this year.
In the batting department, the in-form Lendl Simmons, wicket keeper-batsman Jos Buttler and all-rounders Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson and Mitchell McClenaghan will add firepower to the line-up.
Promising young domestic talents like Unmukt Chand, Ambati Rayudu, Hardik Pandya, Siddhesh Lad, Nathu Singh and Nitish Rana will be the ones to watch out for.
On the other hand, new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants were incorporated into the IPL family after Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were suspended for two years following betting and spot fixing scandals.
Led by India's World Cup winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coached by Kiwi Stephen Fleming, the side looks a balanced outfit. The partnership of Dhoni-Fleming was a hit for CSK and the duo will hope it continues in the ninth edition of the IPL.
Besides Dhoni the other CSK players in the squad are star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, batsman Faf du Plessis and pacer Ishwar Pandey.
England’s swashbuckling batsman Kevin Pietersen, India’s Ajinkya Rahane and Australia skipper Steven Smith were bought in the auction by the team management.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Lendl Simmons, Mitchell McClenaghan, Marchant de Lange, Tim Southee, Unmukt Chand, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Shreyas Gopal, Nathu Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ambati Rayudu, Akshay Wakhare, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad.
Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis, R Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Jaskaran Singh, Steven Smith, M Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Rajat Bhatia, RP Singh, Scott Boland, Adam Zampa, Thisara Perera, Ankit Sharma, Ankush Bains, Ashok Dinda, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar.