Cape Town: Fireworks will explode at the New Lands stadium tonight as Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians take on Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match of IPL 2009.
The Chennai Super Kings are already being viewed as the strong contenders of the cash-rich tournament"s trophy. Led by perhaps the best captain in world cricket today, the team features some of the biggest hitters like Aussie batter Matthew Hayden, South African all-rounder Albie Morkel and Suresh Raina.
The Mumbai Indians, which had been marred with injuries and controversies, is expecting to make a mark this time. Not only the captain Tendulkar is looking fully fit but also his key players Sanath Jayasuriya and Harbhajan Singh are likely prove match winners this time.
Meanwhile, Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi has claimed that 90 per cent of the tickets for the cash-rich Twenty20 event starting have been sold at the eight venues.
“The ticket prices had been aimed at filling the stadiums," Modi said.
“Spectators will see the world"s best players playing competitive cricket and it is made more compelling because of the competitive instincts of the players," he added.
The only apparent blemish is the absence of Pakistani players who were barred by their government from playing in India due to the strained relationship between the neighbors in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.
However, their absence has been compensated to a large extent by the inclusion of a host of Englishmen, including Pietersen and his talismanic teammate Andrew Flintoff.
Chennai Super Kings: S Dhoni, P Amarnath, S Anirudha, R Ashwin, S Badrinath, GJ Bailey, L Balaji, N Einstein, SP Fleming, A Flintoff, MS Gony, ML Hayden, SB Jakati, Joginder Sharma, VV Kadbe, AB Karthik, SS Kumar, JA Morkel, A Mukund, M Muralitharan, M Ntini, JDP Oram, wicketkeeperPA Patel, SK Raina, T Thushara, S Tyagi, S Vidyut, M Vijay
Mumbai Indians: Tendulkar (Captain), DJ Bravo, S Dhawan, JP Duminy, CRD Fernando, Harbhajan Singh, ST Jayasuriya, Z Khan, DS Kulkarni, R McLaren, SL Malinga, KD Mills, Mohammad Ashraful, C Nanda, GR Napier, AM Nayar, AM Rahane, RR Raje, wicketkeeperL Ronchi, JN Shah, PR Shah, RA Shaikh, wicketkeeperYV Takawale, SS Tiwary
Key battles to watch for
Tendulkar ( Mumbai Indians) vs Dhoni ( Chennai Super Kings)
Harbhajan( Mumbai Indians) vs Murali ( Chennai Super Kings)