India's openers go head-to-head for their IPL clubs
New Delhi: Fireworks are promised on the pitch as a completely revamped Delhi Daredevils take on a buoyant Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
In the first three seasons this match saw the most explosive openers of the past going up against the most explosive of the present — Sehwag-Gambhir against Tendulkar-Jayasuriya, plus the fiery pace of Malinga against the immaculate length-bowling of Nannes.
But with Gambhir gone and young prodigy Manoj Tiwary following suit, Delhi have suffered some body blows.
They have also lost Daniel Vettori, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dirk Nannes, and are not the force they were.
What they do have now are lots of bit-part players and all rounders.
James Hopes is effective in any part of the field, Andrew McDonald has proven to be the go-to man and Irfan Pathan, who is still smarting over his exclusion from the Indian team for the World Cup, will be out to make a case for himself.
The past three seasons have seen Delhi ride on a wave of momentum with players in form, but when it has mattered most the team from the capital city have flattered to deceive.
Reaching the semi-finals on a couple of occasions, the Daredevils have always choked at the finish line.
Strength to strength
On the other hand, Mumbai Indians seem to be going from strength to strength every season.
Choosing a balanced squad since the IPL's inception, every year the men in blue have been on the list of top bidders for players, and the recruitment of Kieron Pollard is testament to that.
World Cup winner and spearhead Zaheer Khan is a notable absentee, so is the retired Sanath Jayasuriya, but the inclusion of Andrew Symonds and all-rounder Moises Henriques shows consolidation.
Add to that the rising stars of the team, Ambati Rayadu and Rajagopal Sathish, and what you get is a good amalgamation of youth and experience.
Over the three seasons of megabucks mania, the teams are level-pegging in the head-to-head.
Delhi defeated Mumbai in their first-ever meeting in the IPL by five wickets.
Mumbai returned the favour in the second-leg of fixtures by scripting their own 29-run win.
The Daredevils did the double over the Mumbai franchise in season two, with the Indians bouncing back in the third season, winning home and away.