Now then, the IPL 7 is finally here and the action kick-starts with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on Kolkata Knight Riders. Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi is all set to host the first game of this season as both teams look armoured with thrilling bowlers. (Read: Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) clash with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL 7 opener)
Power Punch: Sunil Narine has an economy of 5.47 in IPL and unlike his emotions (plain most of times) he has every tricky in the bag to deceive batsmen. The off break bowler has taken 46 wickets in 31 matches and is the only KKR bowler to have bagged five wickets in an innings. Narine can spin trouble for MI. Lasith Malinga almost takes the pitch out of equation with his accurate Yorkers. He is the leading wicket taker in IPL with 103 victims at a strike rate of 16.4 and in the finals of World T20, 2014 against India he once again showed how to bowl at best batsmen in business. KKR save your toes, Malinga is coming your way.
Weak Spot: Jacques Kallis has been missing on action lately and he did not had best of the season last year. Kallis may look a bit rusty and this can worry KKR. MI misses an influential wicketkeeper/batsman in their line-up and if Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu are taken out, a solid Indian batsman is clearly missing.
Desi Touch: Ambati Rayudu is the second highest run-getter after Sachin Tendulkar for MI. With Tendulkar now retired onus will be on Rayudu to step-up and deliver. Manish Pandey was the first Indian to score a ton in IPL but since then he has gone into the shell and now is the high time for him to come up with something special, a mature innings.
KKR: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, SS Mondal, Kuldeep Yadav, Debabrata Das, Manvinder Bisla, Suryakumar Yadav, Veer Pratap Singh, Christopher Lynn, Jacques Kallis, Andre Russell, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hassan, Morne Morkel, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine.
MI: Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ambati Rayudu, Pragyan Ojha, Aditya Tare, Jasprit Bumrah, Jalaj Saxena, Pawan Suyal, Sushant Marathe, C.M. Gautam, Apoorv Wankhade, Shreyas Gopal, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson, Josh Hazelwood, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie, Ben Dunk.