Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers and Shane Watson will play. Who the rest of the seven will be, is the question heading into the Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) opening IPL 2016 match, against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Much of the attention coming into this game might be on RCB, but, on paper, at least, SRH have the firepower to tear down any team in the IPL.
Which is why this match should prove to be the best one of the season so far. With RCB possessing ridiculous batting strength in the shape of Kohli, Gayle, De Villiers and Watson, their season, and how successful they can be, will come down to the bowling.
There is no Mitchell Starc to pick up the early wickets and fire those yorkers at the death, so one of Kane Richardson and Adam Milne need to step up with the ball. While RCB also have the option of going with the all-round abilities of David Wiese, they would be better suited to select one of the pure fast bowlers. Samuel Badree, who was so impressive in the World T20, will miss out due to an injury, further opening up that place for either Milne or Richardson.
However, that alone will not do. The India pace battery need to do more than just make up the numbers. Varun Aaron, Harshal Patel, Vikramjeet Malik and Sreenath Aravind must contribute when given an opportunity, while Kohli will hope the legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal impresses again.
In the batting, apart from the big four, RCB have good options in Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav. One of the latter two could feature if De Villiers decides not to don the gloves behind the wicket, while Stuart Binny is a good all-rounder to call upon.
SRH are also packed with talent, but their reliance will be on the bowling, rather than the batsmen, with the batting ranks weakened by the injury to Yuvraj Singh, who will miss the first two weeks of IPL 2016.
Their IPL Player Auction was defined by the purchase of left-arm pace bowlers, with Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman and Barinder Sran joining the team, coached by Tom Moody and captained by David Warner. With Trent Boult already in the squad, the key will be picking the right pacers for the conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, which, as it so often is, should be batsman-friendly.
With Warner a certainty, the Sunrisers Hyderabad will have a tough time in picking the other three overseas players. They will have to choose between Boult and Mustafizur in the left-arm bowling department, while they also have Ben Cutting as an option. In the batting, the choice will be between Eoin Morgan and Kane Williamson, with Moises Henriques providing the best all-round option.
SRH strengthened their middle order batting by signing Yuvraj and Deepak Hooda in the player auction, and while the left-hander is out of action for now, SRH will hope Hooda gives them that hitting power and X factor they so lacked in the last couple of seasons, relying way too heavily on the openers Warner and Shikhar Dhawan.
Confirmed playing XI: RCB: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Shane Watson, Sarfaraz Khan, Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny, Parvez Rasool, Adam Milne, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal.
SRH: David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Ashish Reddy, Naman Ojha, Deepak Hooda, Eoin Morgan, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman.