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The clock is ticking! There is barely three hours left before the attention of the whole nation is riveted to the TV (Sony) to catch the first day of the most eagerly awaited event of the year. Yes, it the one and only crick-entertainment event of the year – the DLF IPL 2012.
At 8 pm today, two powerful and equally matched teams will lock horns, rather bats, on the pitch. It is not just a simple inaugural match anymore, tonight the nation will watch with bated breath as last two years’ IPL champion, Chennai Super Kings, go up against International Champions League winner, Mumbai Indians.
The hot debate (on a larger scale) that will soon rip through the nation diving the CSK and MI camps is whether the CSK team will pull off a hat trick and walk off with the grand trophy this time too or will the MI team snatch the IPL trophy. But that is a long way from being decided, after all, with nine teams participating, we won’t know the final winner till the end of IPL on May 27. For now, the two camps must remain content with cheering on their favorite teams in today’s first match of the season.
So what how do the two teams compare in strength and player quality. Well, with good players both teams are more or less evenly matched. The only point to remember is that the MI team underwent a sudden change in captaincy when just a day ago, Tendulkar handed over his skipper title to Harbhajan Singh. But since Tendulkar is continuing as a player, the MI team should not face any inconvenience. The only thing to look out for is if the change in team head will affect the team’s performance in any way. But that is doubtful since it was under Harbhajan’s brief spell of captaincy in 2011 (when Tendulkar had suffered an injury) that the MI team won a decisive victory at the Champions League Twenty20 tournament. And with players like Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Robin Pieterson, Richard Levi and others, the MI team presents an undefeatable front.
On the other hand, the CSK team looks stronger than ever with Dhoni at the helm leading a strong team comprising Jadeja (the most expensive bid at the auction), Ashwin, Raina, Dwayne Bravo Michael Hussey and others. With the confidence of two IPL wins and the knowledge that they reached the play-offs every season, the CSK team looks to be confident of a sure win. Moreover, they will be playing the first match of the season on their home ground at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
If you would like a more visual comparison, here is a list of the players on both teams. The next match between the two teams will take place on the 6th of May, 2012 at the home pitch of the MI team,Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
|Harbajan Singh||M.S Dhoni|
|Sachin Tendulkar||Suresh Raina|
|Rohit Sharma||Ravindra Jadeja|
|Munaf Patel||Ravichandran Ashwin|
|Rudra Pratap Singh||Srikkanth Anirudha|
|Dinesh Karthik||Nuwan Kulasekara|
|Pragyan Ojha||Shadab Jakati|
|Ambati Rayudu||Murali Vijay|
|Dhawal Kulkarni||Yo Mahesh|
|Abu Nechim||Ganapathi Vignesh|
|Aditya Tare||Abhinav Mukund|
|Pawan Suyal||Sudeep Tyagi|
|Tirumalasetti Suman||Suraj Randiv|
|Suryakumar Yadav||Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas|
|Sushant Marathe||Joginder Sharma|
|Yuzvendra Chahal||Wriddhiman Saha|
|Sujit Nayak||Subramaniam Badrinath|
|Kuldeep Yadav||George Bailey|
|Rahul Shukla||Michael Hussey|
|Amitoze Singh||Dwayne Bravo|
|Jaydev Shah||Faf du Plessis|
|Lasith Malinga||Doug Bollinger|
|Thisara Perera||Ben Hilfenhau|
|Herschelle Gibbs||Scott Styris|
So judging by the team strengths we can expect to see not only hard-hitting bats and flying balls but also a lot of flying elbows and scampering feet! So fans of both teams, it is time to blow the dust off those flags and batons, bring out the vuvuzelas and pull up a couch in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn and soda close at hand (and if you are out there on the stadium, you are the envy of the rest of us). The match is to be telecast live on Sony TV, so make sure you tune your channel ahead of time. Oh and here is the schedule for all the future matches to be played by CSK and MI.
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