About the Match
Hosts Rajasthan Royals take on Mumbai Indians in the first match of the Champions League T20 series on 21st September at Jaipur. Mumbai Indians are the reigning champions of IPL6 and with the Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar looking to play his last T20 tournament; the team is all the more inspired to do well right from the word go. Rajasthan Royals make their CLT20 debut this year under the leadership of Rahul Dravid, for whom this tournament will be the last of his cricketing career. The team has a lot to prove; more so due to the recent corruption scandal that plagued the team spirit. It’ll surely be an exciting match till the finish. It is expected to be a packed house as Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar would be playing last time together in Jaipur although from different sides.
Mumbai Indians are the pre-tournament favourites having won IPL 2013 by defeating the super-strong Chennai Super Kings this summer. As Sachin signs off from the T20 format of the game at the end of this tournament, this will be an emotional moment not only for the team but also for his fans and cricket lovers across the world. The team is studded with talented players like Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma, who led the side to a thrilling IPL win this season. Harbhajan Singh, with his years of experience and comeback to top form will provide the required foundation for the bowling unit. Lasith Malinga, who has been the backbone of the team’s attack for long, will be missed but there’s lot of expectations from Mitchell Johnson to fill in for him.
The Royals had an excellent IPL season this year in terms of player performance, having been one of the two teams that remained unbeaten at home turf. Key players are Brad Hodge who has a 196-match experience behind him and is the 2nd highest run-scorer in T20 formats, the incredible Shane Watson who has done extremely well against the English this summer and youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Menaria and Stuart Binny and the captain himself, the Great Wall – Rahul Dravid, who’ll lead from the front as always. They have the home advantage too and specialists like Faulkner and 42-year old Pravin Tambe will find the pitch favorable. Though the absence of a quality spinner might affect their performance, Shane Watson who has 13 wickets to his name in IPL ’13 will provide the required boost to the team. The team has a lot riding on it and will look for a win to start their debut on a winning note.
Both teams will be playing competitive cricket and with talented players on both sides, there’s sure to be a lot of entertainment in the 1st match. Under the guidance of experts and the world’s greatest batsmen- Sachin and Dravid, both teams are equally matched to win this match. The side that shows brilliance on the field and keeps it nerves together will get it right. The home record for Royals has been so good that Jaipur ground is known as their fortress. Although Mumbai Indians looks slightly heavier on paper, but home advantage coupled with Watson factor and spirited young guys makes Rajasthan Royals better placed to win this opening match.
Rajasthan Royals, 2.20 @ William Hill