After a stellar IPL 2014, where they fell short of winning the title at the last hurdle, Kings XI Punjab will take the first steps towards a crack at another major crown when they begin their Champions League T20 2014 campaign against the Hobart Hurricanes in Mohali.
Where to Watch Live
Match 2 of the CLT20 2014 main draw is scheduled for an 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) start with live coverage on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3 (in Hindi) and Star Sports HD1. The match can also be watched via free live streaming online in India. Catch the action in the UK and Europe on Eurosport, while viewers can also watch online through a live stream.
Viewers in the US can catch all the action on ESPN, with the option available for live streaming. Canada viewers will be able to view the game on Sportsnet or live online. Middle East and North Africa viewers go to OSN Play to watch the match online, while the match can be live streamed in South Africa and Sub Saharan. Rest of the world viewers can catch all the match action via free online live streaming.
KXIP were one of the most exciting teams of the IPL last season, scoring runs for fun with Glenn Maxwell, in particular, turning on the style. Even if that style might have faded a little as the tournament wore on, there is little doubt that Maxwell will again be the man to watch in this CLT20 2014.
In the Hobart Hurricanes, Kings XI Punjab will play a team who also suffered a final loss in their own respective T20 league, with Tim Paine's men losing to the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League finale.
So, both sides will be desperate to take that extra step towards actually lifting the title and an opening win will do nicely, which Kings XI Punjab coach Sanjay Bangar knows will not come easily.
"We have now (spent) close to seven days together. Even during the IPL we had a similar sort of preparation," said Bangar to CLT20's official website. "Spending seven or eight days, when players are playing a lot of cricket, is actually good time to get ready and be focused on the task ahead. From that perspective, we are very happy with the preparations.
"Now, all the teams that have joined the league stage are strong. I've said this before in the IPL also, all eight teams were evenly balanced because of the auction and shuffling of players. So, no team can be taken lightly. We respect our opponents but our focus is we look inwards. We try to do things best of our abilities, how best we can try and reach our benchmarks."
For the Hurricanes, it will be about making the most of the opportunities against the Kings XI, who will be led again by George Bailey, a Hobart man. The fact that this will be both the teams' debut in the Champions League might even the odds a little, even if Kings XI Punjab's batting looks a lot stronger.
Hurricanes captain Tim Paine is banking on the experience of a couple of bowlers who have worn the yellow of CSK – Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger – to do the job for them at the top of the innings, especially in Mohali conditions, where the ball does a little bit off the pitch.
"We have one of the better attacks with Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger leading, and if they can get the ball swinging at good pace, they can be dangerous for any side," Paine said. "As for our batting, in the sub-continent we are a little inexperienced. I think the wickets in Twenty20 cricket are not going to spin massively like they do in Test cricket."
The Hurricanes will also be boosted by the fact that Kings XI will be missing two of their key pace bowlers – Mitchell Johnson and Sandeep Sharma – with Bangar admitting their absence will be felt.
"To miss the skills of Mitchell and Sandeep is a bit of a concern for us," said Bangar. "Having said that, I also believe we have some young bowlers who we probably will be throwing into the deep end to take responsibility.
"I am confident of the kind of work they've put in and will be able to fulfil their responsibilities for us."