A visibly weakened Mumbai Indians (MI), who is out to defend their tile, will take on the Pakistan debutant Lahore Lions in their first, and day’s second match, Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 match at Raipur on Saturday.  

The other team in qualifiers apart from Mumbai Indians (MI) and Lahore are the Northern Knights from New Zealand and the Sri Lanka’s Southern Express who will vie for 2 places which are up for grabs for group stage which begins on September 17.

Back to our preview, Mumbai Indians, despite being considerably weakened due to Rohit Sharma’s injury they are expected to qualify easily for group stage of CL T20 2014 and if luck plays it’s part they might well go far in to the tournament. Despite the injury to captain Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians are full of star players like Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson and Lasith Malinga.

The player to watch out for in first match will be Corey Anderson, as Kiwi is coming of an off season. Apart from Anderson, Mumbai Indians can bank on likes of Michael Hussey, Harbhajan Singh, and Ambati Rayudu, having said that, Mumbai Indians have a weak batting line-up which could hurt team’s chances. Mumbai, on paper, has one of the strongest squads in the tournament to boast of, hence should not face much trouble beating Lahore. Mumbai will heavily rely on West Indies opener Llendl Simmons, who was in good form in IPL 2014, to get them off to flier.

Now on to visitors Lahore Lions, making their debut in this tournament, will rely heavily on Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, and star opener Ahmed Shehzad to help Lahore create an upset over the Mumbai Indians. Lahore to their credit do have fair share of their own stars, but looking at their history, there has been a question mark over team’s consistency. Apart from that Mumbai Inidans will enjoy an edge in fielding department, thanks partly due to foreign contingent, over team from across the border who are usually slowest (to put it mildly) across the turf.

Squad:

Mumbai Indians: Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Aditya Tare (wk), Jalaj Saxena, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Michael Hussey, Kieron Pollard (c), Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Marchant de Lange, Lendl Simmons.

Lahore Lions: Mohammad Hafeez (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Siddique Khan, Mohammad Umar Akmal, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Salman Ali, Asif Raza, Mohammad Mustafa Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Imran Ali, Saad Naseem, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor.