Rohit Sharma and his Mumbai Indians will host MS Dhoni and his Rising Pune Supergiants in the opening match of the IPL 2016 Saturday. The Maharashtra Derby, if it lives up to its expectations, should give the new season of the Indian Premier League a roaring start.
Runs, runs and more runs were the order of the day at the Wankhede during the recently-concluded ICC World T20, with teams chasing down scores of 229, 192 and 182 rather comfortably. If the pitch remains the same, and there is nothing to suggest it will not, this should be another high-scoring match, with the advantage lying with the chasing team.
Which is why the toss will prove to be crucial. Dhoni lost a vital toss in the semifinals to the West Indies, which forced India to bat first and then try and defend a score in tailor-made batting conditions with the dew working against the bowlers as well. The RPS skipper will hope he calls the toss right this time.
Both teams, on paper, have a strong squad, easily capable of going all the way and lifting the title. The pressure will be on the Mumbai Indians to start their IPL 2016 campaign off with a victory, considering they are the defending champions, having beaten Dhoni's CSK in the final last year.
Only minor tweaks have been made to the squad from last season, with the most exciting of those being the inclusion of Jos Buttler, one of the best T20 batsmen in the game. If Buttler gets a game against RPS, he could prove to be the difference between victory and defeat, especially if MI end up chasing.
MI might have a similar lineup from last season, but RPS, of course, are a brand new franchise, looking to make a statement from the off. With Dhoni as captain and Stephen Fleming as coach, the Rising Pune Supergiants already have a CSK feel about them, and if they end up being as successful as the team from Chennai over the next couple of seasons, the RPS owners will have big smiles on their faces.
The first signs of how well-knit this RPS unit is will be seen in this match against the Mumbai Indians. With star names to call right through from No.1 to No.11, the key for Dhoni and Fleming will be to set out the right balance in the side. Picking the best four foreign players for these conditions at the Wankhede will be vital, and it will be interesting to see, who ends up being selected in the playing XI.
Squads: Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Lendl Simmons, Ambati Rayudu, Corey Anderson, Unmukt Chand, Kieron Pollard, Parthiv Patel, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Marchant de Lange, Akshay Wakhare, Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchitch, Jasprit Bumrah, Nitish Rana, R Vinay Kumar, Shreyas Gopal, Siddhesh Lad, Jos Buttler, Nathu Singh, Tim Southee, Krunal Pandya, KP Kamath, Jitesh Sharma and Deepak Punia.
Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Adam Zampa, Thisara Perera, Irfan Pathan, Albie Morkel, Saurabh Tiwary, Baba Aparajith, Murugan Ashwin, Rajat Bhatia, Ankush Bains, Ishant Sharma, Ankit Sharma, Jaskaran Singh, Deepak Chahar, Ashok Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Ishwar Pandey.
Where to Watch Live
Mumbai Indians vs RPS – Match 1 of the IPL 2016 season – is scheduled for an 8 p.m. IST (3.30 p.m. BST, 10.30 a.m. ET) start. Live TV coverage of the opening match of the IPL 2016 season will be on Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. If the TV option is not what you are looking for, MI vs RPS will also be shown online, with the live streaming options on Hotstar and Starsports.com.
Viewers in the US can watch Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants on ESPN, while the game can also be live streamed on Watch ESPN. Sportsnet and Watch Sportsnet are the options for audience in Canada.
OSN Sports Cricket will show the Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants Match 1 live in the Middle East and North Africa, while all the action can also be watched via live streaming online on OSN Cricket Play. Supersport 2 and Supersport Live Video are the places to be in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.
Viewers from across the world, around 133 countries, can watch the IPL 2016 match live online on Cricketgateway.