Mumbai Indians do not have a great record when it comes to opening games in the IPL and this is the area that Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking to pounce on.
After a full two years, with the coronavirus pandemic still raging and the situation deteriorating, the IPL is back in India. For sports fans, it is back after a gap of six months. In 2021, the status quo remains. Fans will have to be content on watching the matches on TV and on streaming devices. With over a lakh cases per day, it seems highly unlikely that fans will be allowed into the stadium. With the hope that the bio-bubble protocol works and no other players get infected, the stage is now set for Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.
Mumbai Indians are the dominant side of the Indian Premier League. They have won five IPL titles, the most by any team. They have a superior head-to-head record against most teams. Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore are at the opposite end of the spectrum. They have lost in the IPL final three times. Their record against most teams is poor. With so much star power, Royal Challengers Bangalore have flattered to deceive.
Yet, behemoths have some weakness. In the case of Mumbai Indians, it is always the opening match of the tournament. Rohit Sharma’s side have lost the opening game of the IPL on a regular basis. It is this weakness that Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking to capitalise. If Kohli can hand Rohit a big defeat in the opening match of the IPL, then they will be able to make a big statement.
The opening match is a situation where teams have to choose a strong playing 11. This can either set the tone of the tournament or break it. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians will be determined to get the perfect combination. For Mumbai Indians, the depth in batting and bowling is such that the playing 11 is decided.
For Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2021 will see Glenn Maxwell provide depth in the batting. The prospect of Maxwell and AB de Villiers batting together can set any stadium alight. Sixes can rain on a regular basis. The other decision Royal Challengers Bangalore will have to take is whether they take Rs 15 crore Kyle Jamieson in the line-up.
Jamieson has not been in good form in the Twenty20s against Australia and Bangladesh. Ever since the auction, Jamieson has been pedestrian in the shorter formats. But, on Indian conditions, it remains to be seen whether Jamieson can fit in. With Daniel Sams laid low due to the coronavirus, his spot might be taken. With Devdutt Padikkal also affected by COVID-19, Royal Challengers Bangalore will have to do some tinkering.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Mohammed Azharuddin, Rajat Patidar, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Kyle Jamieson
Match No.1: Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Venue: MA Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
Time: 7:30 PM IST
The weather in Chennai will be sunny and the minimum temperature will be 26 degrees. The humidity is 61 percent. Dew will play a factor in the game.
In 27 matches, Mumbai Indians have held a 17-10 advantage against Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, in IPL 2020, these two sides played some epic games. There was a tie in one match and Mumbai Indians scrapped home in the final over in the next match due to some brilliance from Suryakumar Yadav. With both Suryakumar and Ishan Kishan performing well in the home season, Mumbai Indians are definitely the favorites.