13-Sep-2014 06:24:00 GMT
Mumbai Indians v Lahore Lions, CLT20, Raipur
Mumbai Indians Face Lahore Lions in CLT20 Qualifier
Raipur: Mumbai Indians face a Herculean task as no team in the CLT20 has come through the qualifiers and gone on to win the championship.
Besides, it would be a stern test for the defending champions as they are without their regular captain and a replacement was named barely a couple of days before they run into tricky opponents Lahore Lions in their first qualifying match on Saturday night.
The late call taken by the Mumbai Indians to name the West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard to replace the injured Rohit Sharma would seem a desperate move. But coach John Wright brushed aside any problem with that, saying that the team always plays as a unit.
Wright is more worried about the loss of Rohit, the batsmen. "We all know he is a class player and was in form in the only ODI he played in England before breaking his finger. But we have many talented players in the line-up. Besides, it will give another domestic player an opportunity to hog the limelight in his absence," Wright said.
With both Pollard and Lasith Malinga opting to play for MI, after leading their respective domestic teams, Barbados Tridents and Southern Express, there is little doubt that they are the favorites to bag one of the two slots in the main round.
Lahore Lions skipper Mohammed Hafeez is not overawed by the might of MI and says that the boys are determined to see a team from Pakistan finally make it to the main round. Sialkot Stallions in 2012 and Faisalabad Wolves last season had failed in their mission.
Over the next four days, four teams i.e. Mumbai Indians, Lahore Lions, Northern Knights (New Zealand champions) and Southern Express (Sri Lanka champions), will play each other once with the top two making it to the main round.
If Mumbai Indians make the grade, they will join Kings XI Punjab in Group B of the main draw. Group A has two more IPL teams, Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings.
The first match on Saturday will see Northern Knights take on Southern Express, who have suffered a double blow as their skipper Malinga decided to turn out for MI and then lethal opener Tillakaratne Dilshan pulled out at the last minute due to personal reasons.
Mumbai Indians: Lendl Simmons, Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard (Capt.), Aditya Tare (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Praveen Kumar, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Pragyan Ojha, Marchant de Lange, Sushant Marathe, Jalaj Saxena
Lahore Lions: Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez (Capt.), Umar Siddiq, Saad Nasim, Umar Akmal (wk), Asif Raza, Wahab Riaz, Imran Ali, Aizaz Cheema, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor, Mustafa Iqbal, Agha Salman
Saturday September 13, 2014 (day/night)
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)