The qualifiers are done and dusted and now it time for the business end of the Champions League T20. And what better way than to begin the tournament proper with two big IPL teams.
Rajashtan Royals vs Mumbai Indians promises to be a cracker of a game - a former champ against the current title holders.
Mumbai Indians players celebrate with the IPL trophy, May 27
One seasoned character - Rahul Dravid - against his former teammate and good friend Sachin Tendulkar - both of whom will end their T20 careers at the end of the tournament.
"We have been preparing, and you can't prepare too much," said Dravid, fired up for the opening encounter at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. "Those who hadn't practiced much had come a week before and we have been practicing. So we are ready."
Much has been mentioned about it being Sachin Tendulkar's final T20 tournament. The Little Master announced he would not take part in the IPL anymore after the Mumbai Indians clinched the title by beating the Chennai Super Kings in May.
However, it will also be Dravid's final tournament - most likely in any format. The Wall has retired from all forms of the game and only involved himself in the IPL as he still had some time to run on his contract.
So, this CLT20 does hold some importance apart from the prestige of being named the best club side in the world. The opportunity to watch Sachin and Dravid for one final time in the shortest form of the game will be eaten up by the audience.
"You want to play good cricket irrespective of the fact that it is your first or last tournament," Dravid said
"We have played well here. Boys are happy to play here. The crowd support is good. Our boys are comfortable here in Jaipur, so I hope we will put up a good performance this time as well."
Both these teams are among the favourites to go all the way and a positive start will help quite a bit in giving that momentum so crucial in the CLT20.
"We have a good and balanced squad," skipper Rohit Sharma, who will have to manage without the services of Lasith Malinga said. "If we play to our potential we are a difficult team to beat and that is what we showed in the last IPL.
"Everyone just stepped up when it was needed and it was a good performance and we just want to leave it back now and we start another campaign here, which is going to be challenging and exciting and we are looking forward to it."
Where to watch
Squads: Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Ashok Menaria, Dishant Yagnik, Vikramjeet Malik, Rahul Shukla, Praveen Tambe, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Shaun Tait.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ambati Rayude, Aditya Tare, Rishi Dhawan, Abu Nechim, Akshat Patel; Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell.
Prediction: IPL champs Mumbai Indians get off to a winning start in a thriller.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Top Ten Richest Americans [PHOTOS]
- Is Orlando Bloom’s Wife, Miranda Kerr Singing Love Songs for James Packer? [WATCH VIDEOS]
- 'Jelena' Romance: Selena Gomez Shares her Most Shocking Date with Justin Bieber Involving $3M- Diamond [PHOTOS/VIDEO]
- A Tribute To Great Actor Paul Walker: Best Quotes From 'Fast And Furious' Films [PHOTOS/ VIDEOS]