Mumbai Indians will face off against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match of the Indian Premier League. It will be Virat Kohli versus Rohit Sharma, which is quite a heated rivalry in the domestic circuit in itself. Both teams will want to start off the new campaign with a win. It will be a cracking game to start IPL 2021.
The defending champions left the auctions as one of the most settled sides. They already play some of the best live cricket and were successful in adding the likes of Piyush Chawla, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, and Arjun Tendulkar to their squad. However, their core remains the same – De Kock, Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, the Pandya brothers, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, and Jasprit Bumrah – which eventually makes an eleven player team. Quinton De Kock will be missing the opener which opens ways for Chris Lynn, who will be waiting to capitalize on his BBL form.
The team looks well-rounded now that their spin department has the dependable services of leggie Piyush Chawla. Sharma would be tempted to play with the same strategy having two overseas pacers aiding Bumrah, Pollard in the middle, and Chris Lynn (for the first match) bolstering the opening slot. With Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Milne, and James Neesham in the squad, the bench looks strong and set to fire.
Mumbai Indians squad: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, James Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen and Arjun Tendulkar
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Despite qualifying for the playoffs in the 2020 season, RCB made quite a few changes in their squad this year. They’ve spent heavily on the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Kyle Jamieson, covering them in the spotlight ahead of the opener. However, Jamieson has not had a good home run against Bangladesh off late and Maxwell hasn’t enjoyed a decent IPL since 2014, which makes this a big gamble. With skipper Virat Kohli making his intentions of opening very clear during England’s tour of India, he’s most likely to do the same for RCB. The first match wouldn’t see RCB’s highest run-getter in 2020 – Devdutt Paddikal – open as he tested positive for COVID-19, which makes a decent case for a Mohammed Azharuddeen- Virat Kohli combination at the top. Then Bangalore can have their blasting middle-order – AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, and Daniel Christian – follow and Washington Sundar and Sachin Baby finish the innings. Their spin department will be headed by Chahal and Zampa as the pacers – Jamieson, Saini, Kane Richardson, and Mohammed Siraj will fight for their place in the playing 11. The newest addition to the squad- Finn Allen – could prove to be a surprise element.
Royal Challengers Bangalore squad: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Shahbaz Ahmed, Finn Allen, Pavan Deshpande, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Devdutt Padikkal, S. Bharat, Suyash Prabhudessai, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Rajat Patidar, Sachin Baby, Glenn Maxwell.
Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have faced each other 27 times in the IPL. Mumbai has won 17 matches while Bangalore has won on 10 occasions.
On paper and by the recent form of the players, the opener must fall in Mumbai’s way. The five-time IPL champs have all the boxes ticked and the players firing whereas RCB still needs to figure out an opener, between Zampa and Richardson and also ponder over Yuzvendra Chahal’s form. The pitch – going by the England vs India test match – should be flat but slow. Spinners will play an important role as pacers are expected to rely heavily on cutters and slower ones.
Date and Time:
April 9, 2021 (Friday), 7:30 PM IST
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai