Indians step into the ring

SP

After their not so memorable outing in the just-concluded ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka, it will be a test of character for the Indian players in the Champions League Twenty20 which enters the business stage from Saturday.

There are four Indian Premier League teams in the fray in the cash-rich tournament, including defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and this season's IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The other two IPL sides are Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Daredevils (DD).

But the talking point of the tournament will be the keeness of the Indian cricketers, who will be eager to erase the scars of their Super Eight elimination in the Twenty20 World Cup.

While KKR and DD have been placed in Group A, the other two IPL teams — Mumbai Indians and Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK — are in Group B, raising the hopes of an all India clash in the semifinals, as the top two teams from each group will qualify for the knockout stage.

However, in no sense it would be an easy task for the Indian outfits as they will be up against some of the best T20 outfits of the world.

And with Titans and Highveld Lions, both from South Africa, enjoying home advantage, the task for the Indian units will be even more cut out.

Apart from the two African teams the championship also hosts Australia's Perth Scorchers, which boasts of players like Shaun Marsh and Herschelle Gibbs in their ranks.

The other Aussie side in fray is Sydney Sixers and with the presence of Shane Watson along with young pace sensation Mitchell Starc and skipper Brad Haddin in their line-up, they definitely look a side that will make a mark. The tournament will also witness Auckland Aces and Yorkshire, both of whom made it to the main draw after topping their respective pools in the just concluded qualifiers. The Indian challenge in the tournament will start with a battle between two IPL biggies — KKR and Daredevils.

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