The Indian Premier League 2012 gets underway with a clash between Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians. In a repeat of the opening game of 2009, when the tournament was held in South Africa, both teams will be aiming for a fast start.
Krishna P V previews today's game beween reigning champions Chennai Super Kings and 2010 runners-up Mumbai Indians.
Mumbai and Super Kings played each other just once last year. Rohit Sharma's 87 off 48 balls took Mumbai to 164. Super Kings were well-placed at 98 for two in the 12th over, but Harbhajan inflicted a collapse, taking five wickets to give Mumbai an eight-run win. Subramaniam Badrinath was the last-man standing with 71.
Stats and trivia
Super Kings' overall win-loss ratio across four seasons (1.54) is comfortably ahead of second-placed Mumbai, who have a corresponding value of 1.26.
Chepauk, traditionally a high-scoring venue, experienced a drop in the run-rate in 2011 to 7.86. The rate was above 8 in the first and third IPL seasons.
Mumbai and Super Kings have played eight games against each other and the head-to-head record is locked at 4-4.
Players to watch out for
Harbhajan Singh is another player who could use this tournament as an opportunity to make a comeback. The criticism was that he had become a defensive bowler, bowling flatter lengths which weren't fetching him enough wickets. His domestic season wasn't good enough to force a return either. R Ashwin's mixed returns in Australia should improve Harbhajan's chances. But Harbhajan will know that he will be up against the likes of Pragyan Ojha and Rahul Sharma, at least in the limited-overs formats. He needs wickets, and plenty of them.
Since his 95 in the IPL final last year and 434 for the tournament, Murali Vijay has had a quiet 11 months. He underperformed in the West Indies and found himself out of contention. He had his moments of success during the domestic season, but this IPL will again be crucial towards making a return to the national side, at least when it comes to auditioning for the World Twenty20. Especially, with Sehwag struggling for form Battles to be watched out Malinga vs Raina This would be a mouth- watering challenge after Raina smashed Malinga in the Hobart One-Day International.
Dhoni vs Harbanjan
The captains of the two teams will be great to watch as both of them know each other very well and Dhoni as the Indian wicket-keeper can read all deliveries of bhajji.
Raina is the highest run scorer in the IPL with 1840 runs in 61 matches and Sachin Tendulkar is in second place with 1634 runs in 52 matches.
RP Singh is the highest wicket taker with 64 wickets and Mumbai has the present purple cap holder Malinga with 24 wickets last season.
© Cricket World 2012