Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The first match of 2015 is between two teams that can lay claim to the title of ‘second best Indian T20 franchise ever’.
KKR have won the title twice without a CLT20 to their name, while MI have won it once with two CLT20s to their name. They are both second to MS Dhoni’s omnipresent-in-knockouts CSK, who have won it twice, reached five finals and have two CLT20s to their name.
Confused? Don’t be, because here’s a simple number-crunching preview between the defending champions and the 2013 Champions:
Captain of KKR: Gautam ‘has-been’ Gambhir
Captain of MI: Rohit ‘Talent’ Sharma
MI—1. The Other Aussie Opener (Finch)/Simmons 2. Hobbit (Parthiv) 3. Forever Young (Chand) 4. Rohit 5. Benchwarmer (Rayadu) 6. Kiwi monster (Anderson) 7. Caribbean Monster (Pollard) 8. Forever Alone (Harbhajan) 9. Domestic Mediocrity (Vinay Kumar) 10. Malinga 11. Hazlewood
KKR—1. Second best (Uthappa) 2. Why So Serious (Gambhir) 3. Annual specialist (Pandey) 4. One-hit wonder (Yusuf Pathan) 5. Ryan ten/Russell 6. Suryakumar 7. Joy Bangla (Shakib) 8. Paneer Makhani (Chawla) 9. Narine 10. Morne Morkel 11. Umesh Yadav
30: Numbers of runs expected off at least one Vinay Kumar over
30: Number of runs expected from Yusuf Pathan, for the entire season
3: Numbers of meals Chawla has reduced his daily intake to
1: Number of fans who think Harbhajan is still in contention for an Indian team spot, including himself
1: Number of further seasons Unmukt Chand needs to fail in to be called the next Rohit
2: Number of minutes expected to pass before both captains encourage their players to sledge the overseas players in their own teams.
100: Number of benches Rayadu is expect to warm, and number of T20 centuries he is expected to score before he will be considered as 12th man for the Indian team
10: Difference (in mts) between the tallest man in KKR (Morne) and shortest boy in MI (Parthiv).
55: Number of fans undecided about who the better team is
5: Number of fans, including players’ families, who think Delhi Daredevils will ever end up in the top 5 (out of 8) in the league