IPL 2021: Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore face off in season opener

After just five months since Mumbai Indians (MI) became IPL 2020 champions, the next season of the best T-20 league in the world is back. The circumstances are tense due to the second wave of coronavirus in the country, but the excitement for IPL 2021 amongst fans remains the same. The new season kicks off with a blockbuster game between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Courtesy of the pandemic, games during IPL 2021 will be played across six venues in India instead of eight. No team will be getting home advantage this season. Mumbai will begin their title defense against RCB at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. Both teams will be looking to set the tone for the entire campaign with a resounding victory.

Team News

RCB and Mumbai will be without their one first-choice opening batsman for this game. Quinton de Kock arrived from South Africa this week, so he has to undergo quarantine for seven days. Meanwhile, Devdutt Padikkal has joined the RCB camp after recovering from coronavirus. The young Indian batsman will also be quarantined before training outdoors next week. Apart from these two players, all other players are fit for both sides to feature in this game.

Predicted Starting XI

Mumbai is likely to bring in Chris Lynn for this game due to the absence of de Kock. The Australian batsman may not open the innings to ensure a right and left-hand combination at the top of the batting order. Meanwhile, Adam Milne could act as the third pace bowling option for Rohit Sharma on Friday.

For RCB, there will be numerous debuts in this game. Glenn Maxwell, Finn Allen, Kyle Jamieson, and Dan Christian are all likely to feature against Mumbai. Meanwhile, Mohammed Azharudeen could get a nod as the finisher in the batting lineup. Rajat Patidar has impressed for RCB in practice matches, so he could also get the nod for the first game.

Mumbai Indians: Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Adam Milne, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Finn Allen, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Mohammed Azharudeen, Dan Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj

Key Battle to watch out

Virat Kohli is going to open the innings for RCB during IPL 2021. Considering how dangerous he is after getting set, dismissing him early will be on all teams’ agenda. Left-arm pacers have caused problems for Kohli in the past. Mumbai will be looking to follow that route. Trent Boult bowled phenomenally in powerplay overs for MI, so the left-arm pacer from New Zealand will be looking to get the better off Kohli on Friday. He has dismissed Kohli six times in international cricket, so it is going to be an exciting battle that could have huge ramifications on the outcome of the game.

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