Chennai, Apr 3: Sights firmly set on a hat-trick of titles, defending champions Chennai Super Kings will open their campaign against last year's Champions League Twenty20 winner Mumbai Indians in the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League 5 here tomorrow.
The season's lung opener at the M A Chidambaram stadium could not have got any better as two of the strongest teams in the tournament will set the tone for the high-octane Twenty20 tournament over the next eight weeks.
Banking on their home advantage which enabled them to win back-to-back titles, the Chennai outfit, led by talismanic Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will be hoping for their third consecutive IPL crown, but for that to happen they will have to pull out all stops to ensure a winning start to their campaign as their rivals - Mumbai Indians - appear to hold a slender edge.
Dhoni, who led Chennai to two IPL titles and final and semi-final appearance once, besides the 2010 CLT20 crown, however, would like to put behind Team India's recent poor run and utilise the Twenty20 event to ease the pressure.
Besides the big-hitting Dhoni, Chennai's batting looks solid with Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and M Vijay being joined by all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, whom the India Cements-owned team bought for a whopping USD 2 million during the IPL V auctions.
However, Chennai would miss the services of opener Mike Hussey and fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus for the initial part of the tournament as they are busy representing Australia in the Caribbean till the end of this month.