The Chennai Super Kings with most of the familiar faces in tow, will look to begin their IPL 7 campaign with a win over the team that was so impressive during the IPL auction - Kings XI Punjab.
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Where to Watch Live:
The IPL 7 match is scheduled for a 2.30 pm local time (4 pm IST, 11.30 am BST, 6.30 am ET) start with live coverage on Sony Max [in Hindi] and Sony Six in India. Catch the action via live streaming online in India HERE or HERE. The rest of the world can live stream the IPL action HERE, HERE or through the GoCricket apps. Viewers in the US can live stream the action HERE, while audience in Canada can do the same HERE.
Catch the action in the UK live on ITV, with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka viewers able to do so on Geo Super, Maasaranga TV and Carlton Sports Network respectively. Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can catch the action on OSN and HERE, while New Zealand viewers can do the same through Sky NZ HERE.
CSK, as they always do, start as one of the favourites for the title, but the team in yellow have been notoriously slow starters in the history of the IPL, and MS Dhoni and co. will be keen to start off with a bang in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
While CSK are invariably the team that most eyes will be on, there will be plenty of interest in Kings XI as well after their inspired buys during the auction. After deciding to retain just two players - David Miller, and intriguingly Manan Vohra - Kings XI showed great awareness and tactical nous during the auction to lay their hands on the likes of George Bailey, who will captain the side, Mitchell Johnson, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Glenn Maxwell, Perera and Shaun Marsh.
"KXIP have done very well in the auction, they've bought some good players," CSK coach Stephen Fleming said. "In Bailey and Sehwag, they have powerful hitters, and with the likes of Maxwell and Johnson, they are a pretty good side. So, you are not going to get any easy games this IPL."
CSK made some decent buys too with the likes of Dwayne Smith, Faf Du Plessis and Brendon McCullum coming in, but there is little doubt that the IPL stalwarts will miss the services of Michael Hussey, who has been invaluable for them at the top over the past few seasons.
"Mike will be missed" Fleming admitted. "These are the things you have to go through when you're looking to pick a new side. You have to let go of some of the players you'd want.
"What we have this year is a very powerful side, we have especially instilled more power in our top order this year with the likes of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum coming in. These additions to the strong base of Indian players we already had, bring a fine balanced look to the squad."
Kings XI might look good on paper, but if the team cannot gel together on the field, the results will not follow, something that Pujara is well aware of," Pujara was quoted as saying by the IPL's official website. "It's a new team. It looks like a very good team on paper, so we will have to execute.
"The kind of players that are there in KXIP, like Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Viru Bhai, etc, it is a good team. There are quite a few good players, but it is important that we do well as a unit. You still need to execute things on the field."