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Chennai, September 23, 2011
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings(CSK) will start as favourites when they on injury-hit Mumbai Indians in the Nokia Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) match at the M A Chidambaram stadium here tomorrow.
CSK, with the likes of Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mike Hussey and Suresh Raina in their ranks, look a more formidable pack compared to their rivals, who would be without the services of master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, who were ruled out of the event due to injuries.
Injuries have blighted Indian cricket in recent times and a numbers of players have gone down during the tour of England and the team which was affected badly was the Mumbai Indians.
As many as eight players were ruled out of the tournament.
As the impact has been severe, the tournament committee, as a special case, allowed Mumbai Indians to field five foreign players as against four.
Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, himself returning from injury, will lead the Mumbai Indians in the absence of Tendulkar.
Also missing will be Sharma, a key middle-order bat, and medium pacer Munaf Patel, whose bowling at the death has been vital for the squad in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2011.
With Sachin and Rohit not part of the squad, much of the burden has to be shouldered by big-hitting all rounder Kieron Pollard, Davy Jacobs, James Franklin and Ambati Rayudu to ensure that the team puts up a good fight against the CSK, which will also be enjoying a huge home advantage.
The experience of Aussie Andrew Symonds, who was drafted as a replacement, would be the key for the Mumbai Indians, which would again be looking to the toe-crushing yorkers of fiery Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga and the crafy Dilhara Fernando.
It would be a daunting task for Mumbai, as they would be up against some big names like Mike Hussey, Sureh Raina, Murali Vijay, Dwayne Bravo and S Badrinath, apart from Dhoni.
On the bowling front, the home side has enough ammunition as it would be spearheaded by feisty Aussie Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel, besides offie R Ashwin.
Kiwi bowler Tim Southee, one of the stars of CSK's title victory in the IPL, would be missing out due to injury and he was replaced by Lankan Nuwan Kulasekara.
CSK, who defeated Warriors in the CLT20 final last year, would be upbeat about their chances as they come up against a weakened Mumbai in their opening fixture.
Mumbai Indians: Harbhajan Singh (capt), Lasith Malinga, Andrew Symonds, James Franklin, Aiden Blizzard, Davy Jacobs, Kieron Pollard, Dilhara Fernado, R Satish, Ambati Rayudu, T Suman, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sarul Kanwar, Abu Nechim.
Chennai Super Kings: M S Dhoni (captain), R Ashwin, S Badrinath, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Michael Hussey, Shadab Jakati, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Suraj Randiv, Wriddhiman Saha, S Anirudha, Scott Styris, M Vijay.