Rajasthan v Mumbai, CLT20, Jaipur September 20, 2013

Retiring legends face off in opener


Match facts

September 21, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

The IPL champions, Mumbai Indians, take on the side that finished third in the tournament this year, despite all the adversity and negative publicity surrounding them because of the spot-fixing scandal. The attention will be on two legends on either side who will be playing their limited overs farewell tournament - Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. Speaking ahead of the game, Dravid, the Royals captain, insisted that it was a contest between two teams and not two individuals. There's a match to be played, a tournament to be won and the Sawai Mansingh Stadium is a good place to start for the Royals who were unbeaten at their home venue throughout IPL 2013.

Royals have the core of their side intact. Shane Watson, who had a mixed tour of England, is coming off his match-winning 143 in the final ODI against England at the Rose Bowl. James Faulkner, the allrounder, finished the IPL season with 28 wickets at 15.25, and the Australian pair will be key to Royals' fortunes. They have the experienced Brad Hodge in the middle order, and Paddy Upton, the coach, said the team also had promising youngsters. "We are fortunate that the upcoming players like Sanju Samson and Dishant Yagnik and also Pravin Tambe, who was not so prominent, have done so well," Upton said. "It would important for us to keep the team in better shape because we have limited players now after the ban on few of our squad players."

Mumbai will have to learn quickly to cope without Lasith Malinga, who's skipped the tournament for family reasons. Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh will have to carry the attack in his absence. They will rely on their batsmen to fire and there's no shortage of power hitters in the line-up. Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik were in good form in the IPL, and will look to continue in the same vein.

Players to watch

There's no clarity yet on whether Harmeet Singh, the left-arm spinner caught in the spot-fixing scandal, is available to play. Royals are short on specialist spinners and Ashok Menaria, the allrounder, could take on the role. Menaria, who also bowls left-arm spin, has form on his side, with ten wickets in three one-dayers against New Zealand A recently, and a fifty as well. Dravid hinted that Menaria may fit into the line-up.

One of the best outcomes for Mumbai in the IPL was the emergence of Rohit Sharma as an able replacement for Ricky Ponting, who was dropped from the line-up. Rohit took over the captaincy and led Mumbai to their elusive IPL title. The captaincy had a positive influence on his batting as he finished as their leading run-scorer. Can Rohit maintain that consistency in the Champions League?

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 27, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    I think today Sachin is where Kumble was just before the 2007 World Cup. He had toughened his training regime and made a last attempt towards fitness thru body transformation. Sachin should hire the top senior athletes' trainers of the world, look at ultimate bio-mechanics[Like Atul Sharma..] and attempt a body transformation to sustain his world-class cricketing skills further. Kumble played 2 more years after that and got wickets at a very good average. The last stand has to me more radical than anything the athlete underwent throughout his career.

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    I do think that Johnson & Lasith was a wondeful pairing for Mumbai. Don't know if Johnson can do the same thing for Mumbai. But I do think that if they both would have paired for the Champions Leauge then nothing would have stopped Mumbai from winning the crown, given the strength in batting Mumbai possess. Also I don't understand the problem with Mitchell & Watson both. I mean to say the way they perform for their respective IPL teams. The same doesn't appear to me when they are playing for their countries. One can already see the way Watson roared back to form with a brilliant century and that century at that time when he is getting ready to play with Rajasthan in the Champions Leauge. Similar is the case with Johnson. His recent ODI form that helped him to get back in the top ten of the ICC ODI rankings when he is just returning to the Mumbai squad for the Champions Leauge

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    A tough time for Rahul Dravid. Apart from concentrating on the victory he should also concentrate on the lost IMAGE of the Rajasthan Royals. All the BEST MR. WALL.

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    DRAVID will win halla bol

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    What a match it is the two legends face off..........but i support to my all time fav legend the wall dravid......

  • Android on September 21, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    wish and hope there will be no conspiracy in champions league. cricket fans would like to watch fair games.

  • Steve on September 21, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    The bowling for RR has been weakened a bit as the players they lost to bans are all bowlers who played for RR at different stages of the IPL6. MI may not miss Malinga too much if Mitchell Johnson fires. All said, these matches should be about T20 excitement rather than individuals.

  • Android on September 21, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    mumbi lets rock the world ....

    be warriors

  • Rahul on September 21, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    hello ! Heavy Rain here :(

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    in this match the big matter is legend vs legend nd only be last matchbetween the these two guys in the champions league,dont miss it cheer for these guys