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IPL 2018 set for star-studded launch today, Chennai to clash with Mumbai in the opener

The 11th edition of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) kicks off on Saturday with a mouthwatering clash between defending champions Mumbai Team and Chennai Team at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. 

IPL 2018 set for star-studded launch today, Chennai to clash with Mumbai in the opener

MUMBAI: The 11th edition of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) kicks off on Saturday with a mouthwatering clash between defending champions Mumbai Team and Chennai Team at the Wankhede Stadium here. In a fresh testament to its undiminished appeal to the country's incurably cricket-obsessed masses, the extravaganza is set to have a star-studded launch.  Chennai Team clashes with defending champions Mumbai Team in the first match of the league shortly after the glamorous opening of the event. 

The opening night, which is scheduled to start at 06:15 pm on April 7, will see an amalgamation of stars under one roof, celebrating the love for the game and setting the stage for the highly anticipated cricketing action to follow in the next couple of months. Rocking the dance floor during the event will be Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan who is set to get the fans in the stands grooving to his dance moves along with Varun Dhawan and Prabhudheva.
To add to it, the stage will also play host to a musical extravaganza from none other than Mika Singh who will be singing his latest chartbusters that are bound to get the audience going. Also, two of Bollywood’s leading beauties Jacqueline Fernandez and Tamannaah Bhatia will enthral everyone with their dance performances. There will be fancy props, drum rolls, more than a hundred supporting artists and a grandeur that is bound to blow everyone's mind.

New IPL Rules

As the mega cricketing event begins on  Saturday, here are some notable changes that will be seen during the course of the league. After the opening ceremony on Saturday, Chennai Team will take on last edition's winners Mumbai Team. The Chennai Team has returned after a gap of two years after serving a two-year ban following the betting scandal. MS Dhoni will lead the side and will take on the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai.  

Following are the changes that have been introduced for the first time in the Indian Premier League. 

Decision Review System (DRS)

BCCI has decided to use DRS in the IPL 11. The DRS will use HawkEye, UltraEdge and at an increased frame-rate per second. Each team will get one review per innings and the third umpire can access ball-tracking and UltraEdge.  

Mid-Season Transfers

In a move aping League football, the governing council of the IPL has introduced mid-season transfers. According to media reports the window will be opened from Match no 28 to 42, for a period of just five days. However, this window is for uncapped players only and only those who have not played more than games. The move could prove beneficial for franchises as the selling team can get some cash back which they spent during the auctions. 

Mumbai to take on Chennai in the Opener

Returning to the fray after serving out a two-year suspension, two-time winners Chennai Team will take on reigning champions Mumbai Team in the 11th edition of lung-opener of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

The needle clash, expected to be watched by a capacity crowd at the Wankhede Stadium, looks set to raise the curtains on the decade-old T20 League in grand style after a formal opening ceremony.

Mumbai Team, led by Rohit Sharma, appears to face an arduous task against the star-studded Chennai side, led by their charismatic skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is back at the helm following the team's two-year ban in 2016 and 2017 IPL seasons along with Rajasthan Team.

The visitors would sure like to begin their campaign with a bang against their arch-rivals as veteran offie Harbhajan Singh will turn out in CSK colours against his former team. 

Mumbai Team will bank on their skipper Sharma, who has kept the number of his batting position under wraps for this game, but his role will be crucial. Rohit has shown that when he gets going then no bowling attack can stop him in the limited over formats and he would hope for a big knock in the first game to boost his and the team's confidence.

Apart from him, they have a good batting line-up with the likes of West Indians Elvin Lewis and Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Siddesh Lad.

The role of Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal as all-rounders - will also be crucial. But this time Mumbai Team will miss the services of not only Harbhajan but also pacer Lasith Malinga as a player although the Sri Lankan continues his association with the hosts as their bowling mentor.

Mumbai also have one of the finest death bowlers currently in the world in Jasprit Bumrah. Coach Mahela Jayawardene would expect other bowlers like Australian Pat Cummins, Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman to deliver and aid Bumrah.

Mumbai's spin department is inexperienced with young spinners Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy and Sri Lankan Akila Dananjaya expected to deliver the goods on a track expected to provide spin as well as bounce.

Chennai Team, on the other hand, have a more settled team as they have retained their core players like Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.

They also have other experienced players in Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, South African Faf Du Plessis, Sam Billings and Shane Watson to share the burden.

On the bowling front, Harbhajan, Karn Sharma and Mumbai and India pacer Shardul Thakur are very familiar with the conditions at the Wankhede.

Mumbai Team: Rohit Sharma(c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Pat Cummins, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan.

Chennai Team: MS Dhoni(c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan. 

Get ready for a rocking opening night as we bring you the best in the business under one roof to kick-start IPL 2018 with a bang.