Two giants of the game, one still active and the other retired, are set to take centrestage at the Brabourne Stadium when the Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians start their Indian Premier League campaign against Shane Warne's Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on Saturday. .
When Sachin Tendulkar confronts his long-time adversary Warne as leaders of their respective teams, it will become the main show at the famed Cricket Club of India.
It was at this ground that Tendulkar set the tone for the visit by Australia in 1998 by hammering the leg spin legend, who went wicket-less after conceding over 100 runs in the first innings, all over the park to notch up his maiden double century in first class cricket.
After that opening confrontation and Tendulkar's brilliant show in Sharjah in a one-day tournament Warne went on to publicly admit he suffered nightmares of being smashed around by the Indian batting maestro.
The extra edge whenever the two masters of their respective crafts meet against each other on a cricket field will be the cynosure at the packed Brabourne.
The day game, that starts one hour early at 3 pm at the request of the International Hockey Federation, who wanted a clear window for the World Cup final also to be held tomorrow, would also give a chance to the Mumbai outfit to draw level with the Royals in head-to-head encounters.
In the opening season the two won their respective home matches comfortably, Tendulkar missing the first tie because of injury and then playing the second at Jaipur but ending on the losing side.
In 2009, when the IPL tent shifted to South Africa, the first match was washed out due to rains while Warne and co. eked out a thrilling two-run win in the second leg at Durban.
The leg spinner's magical spell in which he snared not only Tendulkar, trapped leg before for 40 off 30 balls, but also picked up two other top-order batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Sanath Jayasuriya turned the tide firmly the way of the Royals.
But overall it was a disappointing season two for both the outfits and both teams would be eager to make a winning start and get their title hunt on the track. Both teams would be missing some key players with the Royals set to miss Ravindra Jadeja, their top scorer in the land of the Proteas with 295 runs and a strike rate of over 100, whose left arm spin bowling would also be missed.
Jadeja has been slapped a one-year by the IPL Governing Council for breaching the player code of conduct.
The Royals would also be without South Africa's Johan Botha, who is busy playing in his country's domestic Twenty20 competition along with Australia's Shane Watson and Adam Voges for the first tie. PTI