Finally, the 14th edition of IPL is all set to begin today. The Indian Premier League is back in the home country after two years. Despite the pandemic, the tournament would be played at six venues with strict adherence to bio-bubbles.
And the start couldn't have been better as the first match starting on April 9, 2021, is between defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Since no team has the home advantage this year, the opening match would be held at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
Chennai pitch is all for spinners with the best average (19.52) and economy rate (6.16) at the stadium so both teams put weight on a third spinner, and expect a balanced contest to kick off the IPL season this time.
Mumbai Indians (MI), looking to win their sixth Indian Premier League (IPL) title and complete a hat-trick of titles will face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who are yet to win a title, in the inaugural game of the Indian Premier League 2021.
The battle will be between two of India's finest white-ball players. Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are among the best international batsmen in white ball cricket and are India's most experienced players. While Sharma will lead MI, Kohli will lead RCB.
On paper, MI are like a well-oiled machine. The players have been around for years and have tasted success. They know the formula needed to get success. RCB, on the other hand, have always struggled to get their combination right. Often, their middle-order batting has been found wanting while their pace bowling has lacked variety.
Last year though, they did well to make it to the play-offs and for this year, they have brought in some impact players like hard-hitter Glenn Maxwell and express pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, who can also provide hard-hitting option at the end.
MI have won almost double the number of games played between the two teams over the years. While MI have won 17 matches, RCB have won just 9 matches. The Mumbai franchise will no doubt go in as favourites again in the tournament opener. But RCB's power-packed line-up may just surprise them.
The big worry for RCB would be Devdutt Padikkal. While the left-handed opening batsmen, who impressed in his debut season with RCB in 2020, has joined the team after testing negative for Covid-19 following a positive test, it will be interesting to see if RCB play him in the tournament opener.
In Mumbai Indians' case, they will be in two minds on South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who has just arrived from an ODI series at home against Pakistan.
Mumbai Indians have won eight of their last 10 matches with RCB and of the two games they lost, one was the Super Over last year. Mumbai, however, have lost each of their last eight season-openers in the IPL.
Of the six venues that will host this year's IPL, MA Chidambaram Stadium has been Virat Kohli's slowest scoring with a 111.49 strike rate.
Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Piyush Chawla, Trent Boult, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Chris Lynn, Arjun Tendulkar
Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, Devdutt Padikkal, Pavan Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Yuzvendra Chahal. Adam Zampa and Finn Allen are still in their isolation period so would miss the opening match.
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match timing
The Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match will start at 7:30 PM IST. Toss is scheduled at 7:00 PM IST.
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match telecast channels
You can watch the match live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Kannada, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Bangla, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Star Maa Movies, Asianet Plus, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Vijay Super and Jalsha Movies.
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match streaming platform
You can watch the live streaming of Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match on Disney + Hotstar, Jio TV and Airtel TV.
(With preview inputs from IANS)