| Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Doug Bollinger during practice, on Friday. (PTI) |
Calcutta/Chennai: Without regular captain Sachin Tendulkar and some other key players, a depleted Mumbai Indians will face defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their tough lung-opener of the Champions League Twenty20 here Saturday.
Apart from Tendulkar, who is nursing a toe injury, the Mumbai Indians will also be without Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ali Murtaza, Munaf Patel and Dhawal Kulkarni. To be led by Harbhajan Singh in Tendulkars absence, Mumbai Indians have been allowed five foreign players instead of the stipulated four due to the teams injury crisis.
Apart from Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel, Ali Murtaza, Dhawal Kulkarni and Suryakumar Yadav have been ruled out of the tournament because of injuries. Tendulkar (toe), Rohit (broken finger) and Munaf (twisted ankle) were injured during Indias recent tour of England.
The injured have been replaced by Andrew Symonds, Dilhara Fernando, R. Satish, Sarul Kanwar and Abu Nechim.
They face an unbeaten-at-home Chennai Super Kings, who are not just the defending champions but also the winners of this seasons IPL title.
The only key player that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team will miss is New Zealand pacer Tim Southee. The technical committee has confirmed that Nuwan Kulasekara will replace Southee.The New Zealand international was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury. Kulasekara has played 15 T20 internationals, 98 ODIs and 12 Tests for Sri Lanka, in an eight-year international career.
The Super Kings will enjoy the home advantage for almost the entire tournament as they are playing all their group matches at home while the semi-finals and the final are also scheduled here.
In all counts, Mumbai Indians will find it tough to contain the Super Kings batting line-up which features, apart from Dhoni, among others the likes of Michael Hussey, who can change the complexion of the game.
The home teams bowling, too, looks solid with pacers such as Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel. The spin department features the sprightly Ravichandran Ashwin and Suraj Randiv.