Prince vs the King | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Prince vs the King

Exactly three years ago, on the eve of their first IPL outing, the Mumbai Indians bunch, minus Sachin Tendulkar, was sweating it out under lights at the Wankhede Stadium. Amol Karhadkar reports Matchbox

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2011 01:19 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Exactly three years ago, on the eve of their first IPL outing, the Mumbai Indians bunch, minus Sachin Tendulkar, was sweating it out under lights at the Wankhede Stadium.

Time has lapsed since that uneventful day of April 2008. The IPL has emerged as one of the most anticipated events on the annual cricket calendar. The staid Wankhede Stadium now has the look of an ultra-modern amphitheatre - a reason for former cricketers to dabble in nostalgia.

As for the Mumbai Indians - an inconsistent outfit that missed Tendulkar for half of the first season - the team has emerged as one of the most popular IPL brands, thanks to a star-studded line-up and a consistent performance in the third edition.

As Mumbai practiced on the eve of their clash against Pune Warriors, the five survivors from the first season would know that it takes no time for the tide to turn.

They realised it in their maiden IPL encounter in 2008 when the Rahul Dravid-led Royal Challengers Bangalore outplayed the home team led by Harbhajan Singh in the absence of Tendulkar, who was recovering from a groin injury.

The Mumbai Indians -who saw three captains in the opening edition - suffered four losses at the beginning but followed it up with five successive wins. Still, they failed to make it to the semifinals.

And, after the fresh auction ahead of the fourth edition, the re-jigged Mumbai outfit looked the best team on paper. However, the momentum created by the first two victories was quickly lost after debutants Kochi Tuskers stunned them in their opening despite a century by Tendulkar.

The Warriors are also in a similar situation going into their first away tie. After starting with two convincing wins, Yuvraj Singh'steam were stunned by a win-less Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday.

Given the scenario, when the two skippers return to the same venue where they rejoiced India's World Cup triumph, they would know that there are no favourites in Twenty20.