Sunil Narine KKR
KKR talisman Sunil Narine will hope his altered action will cause the same kinds of problems to the Mumbai Indians batsmenShaun Roy/IPL/Sportzpics

The primary focus as IPL 2015 kicks-off with a match between defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday will be Sunil Narine and if the T20 bowling maestro can overcome a change in action and be as effective as ever.

Narine's action change was forced on him after he was called for a suspect action during last season's Champions League T20, and having decided to stay away from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, despite having his action ratified by the ICC, the spotlight will firmly be on the mystery spinner, even if he can bowl only 4 of the 40 overs in the match.

"We were always very confident of him coming back and remodelling his action, especially after the test that he got done in Loughborough which was also an ICC testing centre," said the always-intense KKR captain Gautam Gambhir.

"I am really happy for him. I have always felt and said in the past that he is an integral part of KKR and will always be an integral part of KKR. Hats off to him that he has changed and remodelled his action in such a short span of time.

"I believe, even if Sunil bowls a straight ball, he has always been an asset for us and will always be one. That is the confidence we have. Hopefully he can continue the success he has achieved for KKR."

The Knight Riders will need Narine to be back at his best if they are to make a deep run in IPL 2015, such is the importance of the bowler, even if they do have the likes of Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Pat Cummins and Shakib Al Hasan.

Otherwise, KKR do have a settled look to them, with a couple of interesting acquisitions – chief of them being KC Cariappa – set to give them that extra depth in such an unforgiving tournament.

For the Mumbai Indians, it will be about getting off to a fast start this season, after their dismal beginning in IPL 2014, and for that to happen, a win over the reigning champions in their own backyard will be welcome.

"It will be important to start the game really well," said Rohit. "We have to start well whether we bat or bowl first. It is a very important game. The first game of the season is crucial.

"It is important that you start well, take that momentum into the next game and perform to your best. A winning momentum gives you lot of confidence and helps you build on your strengths."

Aaron Finch has been brought in to lend some strength to the opening slot, and if Finch and Lendl Simmons forge a strong partnership at the top, MI will not find themselves in the kind of mire they were in last season, before they made that incredible comeback to sneak into the playoffs.

The skipper Rohit's form, of course, will be crucial as well. The right-hander always seems to reserve his best for the IPL, and when he is at his crisp and brutal best, he is near unstoppable.

While the Mumbai Indians will rely on their batting at the top of the order, so will KKR, with Gambhir and Robin Uthappa again looking to give the rest of their batsmen the kind of opening that allows them to express themselves in the final 10 overs.

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The opener of IPL 2015 is scheduled for an 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) start with live coverage in India on Sony Six (English), Sony Max (Hindi), Sony Kix (Tamil and Telugu) and Sony Aath (Bengali). Audience in India can also watch KKR vs MI via live streaming online on HotStar.

Catch the IPL 2015 action in the UK on Sky Sports, while the opening match can also be live streamed on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. Viewers in the Middle East can catch all the match action live on OSN, while the game can also be live streamed on OSN Play.

Audience in the US can watch the first game live on ESPN or ESPN Cricket. Viewers watch KKR play Mumbai Indians in Canada can tune into Sportsnet, while the live streaming option is on Sportsnet World.

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