13th IPL kick-starts in Abu Dhabi today
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: After a long wait, cricket stars will be in action at the 13th edition of Indian Premier League at Abu Dhabi in the United Aarab Emirates today. The fans will have a lot to cheer as Rohit Sharma led Mumbai Indians will take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of the IPL.
The tournament, which has been shifted to the UAE due to COVID-19 pandemic, is a TV only event. In all, 60 matches will be held in three avenues- Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. All the participating teams have arrived in UAE to fight it out in a neutral venue away from their home conditions.
The organizers have ensured adequate safety arrangements in place creating bio bubbles. The idea is to prevent the Corona virus cases. Over the next 53 days, it is going to be a tough task for the participating teams to win the title.
Sharing his thoughts on ElClasico of the IPL, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said that he enjoys playing against the Chennai-based side and will approach the game as any other fixture.
"Playing against CSK is always fun, we enjoy that battle. But when we play the game it is just another opposition for us and that is how we want to move forward," Rohit said in a video posted by Mumbai Indians on their official Twitter account.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya feels it is a clash between the two most loved teams of the tournament.
"It has become a game which people look forward to. It is one of the two franchises that are most loved by the fans and that is how it becomes special. I do not know when we all will get our A-game out when we are playing against CSK and I wish we always do that," Pandya said.
Head coach Mahela Jayawardene said the team has to 'lift their game' to defeat CSK.
"To beat a team like this or compete against a team like this you really really have to lift your game and I think naturally all the boys do that. As a franchise it is something that we thrive as well," Mahela said.
The two teams have faced each other 28 times in the IPL with MI holding an edge over CSK as they have a 17-11 win/loss record against them. They have shared a victory each in the now-defunct Champions League T20 (a competition both franchises have won twice) as well.
In their last meeting, during the 2019 IPL final, MI beat CSK by just one run.
The match will be more special for Mahendra Singh Dhoni fans as the former wicketkeeper-batsman will return to action after more than a year. The 2019 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand was Dhoni's last match as he announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15 this year.