India vs Pakistan, courtesy franchise cricket, will take centre-stage as the Mumbai Indians look to begin the defence of their Champions League T20 title with a victory over the Lahore Lions.
Where to Watch Live
The MI vs Lions game in CLT20 2014 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 and Star Sports HD1. The match can also be watched via live streaming online HERE. Catch the action in the UK and Europe on Eurosport, while viewers can also watch online through a live stream HERE. Rest of the world viewers can catch all the math action via online live streaming HERE.
Viewers in the US can catch all the action on ESPN, with the option available for live streaming HERE. Canada viewers will be able to view the game on Sportsnet or live online HERE. Middle East and North Africa viewers go HERE to watch the match online, while the match can be live streamed in South Africa and Sub Saharan HERE.
The Mumbai Indians have been forced to forge a path to the main draw of CLT20 2014 via the qualifiers after just about managing to sneak into fourth place in last season's IPL.
With the embarrassment of riches at their disposal, though, MI should have more than enough in their armoury to ensure their place with the big boys, and an opening win over the Lahore Lions would set that tone nicely.
However, it will be far from easy, as the Lahore Lions have a pretty good squad at their disposal, led by Pakistan veteran Mohammad Hafeez. Along with Hafeez, the Lions squad includes the explosive Ahmed Shehzad, the dangerous and seriously talented Umar Akmal, and Pakistan internationals Nasir Jamshed, Wahab Riaz and Aizaz Cheema.
"It is a tough challenge for us but the fact that we are playing in India is a big spur on for the players and what gives me confidence is our team combination," Hafeez told PTI a few days ago.
"We have six international players and all of whom have proven they can handle the pressure of playing in a big event and in front of big crowds. And the other players are also battle-hardened and capable of winning matches on their own."
If the Mumbai Indians are to begin with a victory, they will need a lot of their big-name players to step up to the plate.
A slow start, which hampered their chances of winning the IPL 2014 title seriously, cannot be afforded this time, and every single player in that team will need to hit their straps from ball one.
There has been a bit of a change in the MI lineup for this CLT20 2014, with Kieron Pollard taking over the captaincy after Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the tournament through injury.
While Pollard has been with the Mumbai Indians for several seasons, it will be interesting to see if the big West Indians take to the MI captaincy like a duck to water or a fish to land.
"We will definitely feel Rohit's absence in the team and wish him well," Anil Kumble said in a statement. "However, I strongly believe, that you can only be as good as the opportunities you get.
"And I am confident that Kieron with his varied experience and impressive track record, will rise to the occasion, and align the Mumbai Indians for a competitive performance," the Mumbai Indians chief mentor added of Pollard, who captained the Barbados Tridents, who are a part of the CLT20 main draw, to the Caribbean Premier League T20 title earlier this year.
While the Lahore Lions have a pretty good squad at their disposal, the Mumbai Indians, if they fire on all cylinders should have enough firepower to see off their opponents.
However, the Lions will be the favourites to qualify for the main draw along with the Mumbai Indians, and an assured performance against the CLT20 champions, win or lose, will put them in good stead heading into the next two matches.
Squads: Mumbai Indians: Lendl Simmons, Aditya Tare, Ambati Rayudu, Michael Hussey, Kieron Pollard (capt), Corey Anderson, Jalaj Saxena, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Shreyas Gopal, Lasith Malinga, Marchant De Lange, Praveen Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Sushant Marathe.
Lahore Lions: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Siddique, Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Salman Ali, Asif Raza, Mustafa Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Imran Ali, Saad Naseem, Adnan Rasool, Muhammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor.