The Indian Premier League may have been over but the T20 fever will reach a new peak with the star-studded second edition of T20 Mumbai League set to get underway at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
No wonder then that hours after playing a pivotal role in Mumbai Indians’ record fourth IPL title run, Suryakumar Yadav will return to the Wankhede to defend his team’s title. The Triumph Knights Mumbai North East, thanks to captain Surya leading from the front with a whirlwind 42-ball 90, edged past Shivaji Park Lions in a scintillating season one finale last year.
The Triumph Knights will thus fittingly open their campaign against T20 Mumbai newbies Aakash Tigers MWS. With T20 Mumbai having expanded into an eight-team league, Dhawal Kulkarni-led Aakash Tigers will hope to mark their debut by upstaging the reigning champions in the Season Two opener.
As if the power-packed line-ups of both the sides aren’t enough to make it mouthwatering, Arjun Tendulkar’s T20 debut will be keenly followed by cricket enthusiasts around the globe. Arjun, the left-arm pacer who is a surprise package with the willow, was one of the most sought-after names in the auction earlier this month. Having fetched a high price-tag, the lanky youngster will be eager to impress one and all, including his legendary father, by helping Aakash Tigers get off the blocks come Tuesday afternoon.
But the Tigers would jolly well know the task isn’t so easy. After all, the Triumph Knights have, besides Yadav, in their armoury the likes of left-arm pacer Royston Dias and all-rounder Akash Parkar, both regulars for Mumbai in the domestic arena. Add to that the presence of a majority of last year’s winning combination, including hero of the final, Parikshit Valsangkar and left-arm spinner Vinayak Bhoir and the Triumph Knights look like a complete package.
Later in the evening, ARCS Andheri will be pitted against SoBo Supersonics, who had topped the league table in the opening edition. With a new captain in Kevin Almeida, the Andheri lads will be hoping Shubham Ranjane and Pankaj Jaiswal, both of whom couldn’t get game time in their maiden IPL season, will continue from where they left last year. While the presence of evergreen all-rouder Iqbal Abdulla, opener Akhil
Herwadkar adds experience to the side, fast bowler Tushar Deshpande will be looking forward to run through the SuperSonics top order.
SuperSonics’ opener Jay Bista will be eager to wage an assault on Deshpande and Co. If Bista can negate Deshpande’s impact, veterans Rohan Raje and Yogesh Takawale along with youngsters Khizer Dafedar and Agni Chopra, can give a flying start to their campaign.