Mumbai: In the Indian Premier League opener, defending champions Mumbai Indians take on new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede stadium on Saturday.
Rohit Sharma and his boys would be brimming with confidence after a brilliant fightback from last season, where they went on to win the title from a precarious position.
The team is fully formidable with overseas players in Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Corey Anderson and Mitchell McClaneghan. Since Lasith Malinga will miss the first two weeks due to injury, the onus will be on the Kiwi pacer to do the job.
Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah are two Indian players, who are much improved cricketers compared from last year since they now have international exposure under their belts.
On the other hand, despite being a new franchise, under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rising Pune Supergiants are serious contenders for the title.
Dhoni has some world class players in Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin and Faf du Plessis at his disposal. Known to produce match-winners, it would be interesting to see whether Dhoni can unearth more match-winners in his stint with the new franchise.
Mumbai Indians IPL squad: Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ambati Rayudu, Jagadeesha Suchith, Jasprit Bumrah, Parthiv Patel, R Vinay Kumar, Shreyas Gopal, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Unmukt Chand, Akshay Wakhare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Corey Anderson, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Marchant de Lange, Lasith Malinga, Jos Buttler, Nathu Singh, Tim Southee, Krunal Pandya, Kishore Pramod Kamath, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma.
Rising Pune Supergiants IPL squad: MS Dhoni, Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Ashwin Murugan, Ishant Sharma, Kevin Pietersen, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ashoke Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Adam Zampa, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma.