Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad host Royal Challengers in the tournament opener of Indian Premier League 2017, which will also be a repeat of last year's final, at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
After a busy auction period earlier this year, both teams have revamped themselves and made sure their weaknesses from last season was covered. However, the visitors have suffered an early jolt as quite a few of their players including skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are going to miss the opener along with Lokesh Rahul and big-hitting Sarfraz Ahmed, both of whom have been ruled out of the entire tournament.
Shane Watson has been given the responsibility to lead the side and the onus will once again fall on West Indies' dasher Chris Gayle to deliver the goods. However, the big-hitter has not been in the best of forms, scoring only 160 runs from nine matches in the recently-concluded Pakistan Super League.
It will be a fresh start for the visitors with the ball as well as a lot will be expected from Twenty20 specialist Tymal Mills, who was one of the biggest buys at the auction. Local uncapped speedster Aniket Chaudhury along with Yuzvendra Chahal and Pawan Negi form a formidable bowling attack for the visitors.
On the other hand, SRH will bank on opener David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, both of whom would want to prove themselves after a string of dull international outings. The presence of Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh and in-form Deepak Hooda should add balance to the batting order.
Known for their fast-bowling firepower, the hosts will have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Chris Jordan leading the attack today as Mustafizur Rahman will miss the opener due to international duty. Focus will also be on Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan as the world number five T20 bowler will be looking to impress on his IPL debut later today.
Possible XI: Warner (c), Dhawan, Williamson, Yuvraj, Hooda, Ojha (wk), Jordan, Sharma, Rashid, Bhuvneshwar, Nehra
Possible XI: Watson (c), Gayle, Mandeep, Head, Jadhav (wk), Baby, Binny, Negi, Chahal, Mills, Choudhary