Shane Warne teasing Sachin Tendulkar with his bewildering mix of deliveries will be one of the highs of the IPL 2010 contest between two high-profile teams on Saturday. Rajasthan Royals takes on Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium, hoping to start off on a winning note, even as the skippers will be engaged in a fascinating face-off at the crease.
Warne and Tendulkar admire each other, having the highest respect for the manner in which each has influenced the sport.
Fired by three wickets from the skipper, Royals won last season's match-up between the two teams at Durban, by two runs. Tendulkar was one of Warne's victims then - leg before for 40. Sanath Jayasuriya and Ajinkya Rahane were the others who found Warne too hot to handle.
Tendulkar has raised the bar in limited-over cricket with a double century in 50 overs, though confidence is the only asset he can carry forward into T20. Aware of the need for caution against the spin wizard, it is likely that Tendulkar may rotate the strike or opt to play Warne out, and look to score off the other bowlers.
Mumbai Indians has big-hitters in Jayasuriya, Abhishek Nayar, Shikhar Dhawan, R. Sathish and Chandan Madan.
Royals will find a replacement for Ravindra Jadeja - the youngster's absence will hurt the team's batting and bowling approaches.
The non-availability of foreign players like all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and the powerful Kieren Pollard will be a challenge for Indians - and an opportunity for lesser known talents to get a look-in.
Royals is blessed in that respect, with Warne's proven ability to get the best out of available talent.
The teams (from): Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Zaheer Khan, Dhaval Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, Graham Napier, Ryan McLaren, Abhishek Nayar, R. Sathish, Chandan Madan, Aditya Tare, Ambati Rayudu, Saurabh Tiwary, Ali Murtaza, R. Shukla, I. Malhotra, K. Sahabuddin. Coach: Robin Singh.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (captain), Morne Morkel, Graeme Smith, Damien Martyn, Michael Lumb, Swapnil Asnodkar, Munaf Patel, Shaun Tait, Dmitri Mascarenhas, Yusuf Pathan, Johan Botha, Sumit Narwal, Naman Ojha, Amit Uniyal, Kamran Khan, Amit Singh, Siddharth Trivedi, Aditya Dole, S. Wagh. Coach: Darren Berry.