We analyse the major talking points from the opening IPL 2021 encounter between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League got off to a fine start, with the game between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) going down to the wire. MI vs RCB was always bound to be a close game and so it proved. It was the Virat Kohli-led side that came away with the win though, and they started the tournament exactly how they would have hoped to. For Rohit Sharma and Co, there remains plenty to ponder. Let us take a look at the major takeaways from the opening match of the IPL 2021 that pitted MI vs RCB.
To say that Harshal Patel has had an interesting IPL career would be an understatement. Having made his debut in 2012 for RCB, he spent 5 seasons at the franchise before being traded to Delhi Capitals. However, he was unable to nail down a starting berth at either franchise. Now back at RCB after being traded, there was some interest as to how he would fare.
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Patel’s new role as a death bowler – a spot Kohli said afterwards is where he will operate – yielded the desired results. He missed out on a hat-trick but ended the night with figures of 5-27. Perhaps fittingly, he also hit the winning runs for RCB.
That MI have not won their opening game of the tournament since 2013 is well-known and the streak carried on into 2021. As skipper Rohit Sharma pointed out though, what matters is that they win the tournament in the end.
Indeed, MI will consider themselves slightly unlucky to have not won the match. They started the first innings well but were pegged back at the death. They also had RCB on the ropes at 107-5, with only an AB de Villiers special helping them over the line.
Glenn Maxwell’s lack of IPL returns has become something of a running joke in recent years. ‘The Big Show’ is a proven T20 performer but has often struggled in India. Those struggles came to a head in 2020, when he failed to hit even a single six through the tournament.
Despite that, RCB shelled out the big bucks for him and his career at the franchise started solidly. His 28-ball 39 injected some much-needed momentum into RCB’s innings and he even slammed 2 sixes. Perhaps this could be the year the Aussie makes his mark on the tournament?
AB de Villiers is not your typical 37-year-old. The former South Africa international is fit as ever and has clearly not lost the ability to smack the ball. Indeed, his cricketing nous remains strong as ever based on this showing.
RCB looked in trouble at 106-5 but De Villiers came through to deliver the goods. He ran hard and smacked the ball even harder, pulling the game back for RCB. By the time he was run out, RCB needed only 2 runs to win. One can’t help but feel that if RCB are to make a title run, they will need more of the same from Mr. 360.
Given that MI were 135-4 after 16 overs, a score above 180 did not seem improbable. Yet the fact that they only added 24 runs in the final four overs will be a cause for concern going ahead
Granted they were pegged back by some excellent death bowling by Patel, Kyle Jamieson and Mohammed Siraj. However, they went hell for leather from ball one when a patient approach might have paid better dividends.