IPL 2021: Defending Champions Mumbai Indians take on Virat Kohli's RCB in season's first battle
Mumbai Indians' captain Rohit Sharma and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli during last year's IPL in UAE (File pic)Image source: Twitter

IPL 2021: Defending Champions Mumbai Indians take on Virat Kohli's RCB in season's first battle

On the opening night of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will battle against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)

Chennai: The world's biggest cricket festival is here. IPL 2021 (Indian Premier League) is back in India. Mumbai Indians (MI), who will eye to lift the title for sixth time will take on revived Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) led by Virat Kohli in the inaugural game here on Friday night.

Both the skippers, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are among the best international batsmen in white ball cricket and are India's most experienced players.

MI is like a well-oiled machine. The players in MI have been around for years and have tasted success. They know the model needed to get success. MI have won almost double the number of games played between the two teams. The Mumbai franchise will no doubt go in as favourites again in the tournament opener. Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Pandya brothers are already some big names here.

RCB, on the other hand, have always struggled to get their combination correct. Often, their middle-order batting has been found wanting while their pace bowling has lacked skills.

Last year though, they did well to make it to the play-offs and for this year, Bengaluru club have brought in some big players like hard-hitter Glenn Maxwell and pacer Kyle Jamieson, who can also provide hard-hitting option in the lower order.

While MI have won 17 matches, RCB managed win in 9 matches.

RCB's power-packed line-up may just surprise MI. The big worry for RCB would be Devdutt Padikkal. While the opening batsmen, who impressed in his debut season with RCB last year, has joined the team after testing negative for coronavirus following a positive test, it will be interesting to see if RCB play him in the opening game.

PROBABLE XI

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Chris Lynn, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jimmy Neesham, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Mohammed Azharuddeen, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Pavan Deshpande, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj

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