IPL 2021 is about to start and the first match is going to be played between the Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). MI is the two-time defending champion while RCB has never won a single title. Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, leads RCB and he is under a lot of pressure to finally get a title for his team. We have seen in the past that MI can take some time getting its footing right in the IPL and so this may be a great opportunity for RCB to cause an upset.
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL 2021
Teams’ strengths & weaknesses
Mumbai Indians have a very well-balanced lineup with most of the positions already set in stone. The success of the team allows it to be stable in its composition and that gives the players clarity in their roles. The batting lineup is very strong and the bowling attack is world-class. There are no apparent weaknesses.
Royal Challengers Bangalore has added Glenn Maxwell to their lineup and that should give it some room to maneuver in the middle overs. Three of the best batsmen in the world headline the batting and that is its strength. The bowling, however, continues to remain a bit weak. The team also does not know what its best eleven is right now.
Players in form
In the Mumbai Indians squad, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan made spectacular debuts for India in the past month and that will give them a lot of confidence. Rohit Sharma is also in fine run-scoring form. It will be interesting to see what a well-rested Jasprit Bumrah is capable of this season as well.
The two opening batsmen for RCB are the players to watch out for. Virat Kohli got runs for India against England and will lead the batting challenge. Devdutt Padikkal had a COVID-19 scare but is expected to be available for the first match. His record-breaking Vijay Hazare tournament makes him a player in form as well.
Chennai is almost always hot and humid. This is the case at this time of the year as well and so the players can expect to sweat it out. Spinners generally enjoy playing in Chennai and have a decent amount of success but we will only know the true nature of the surface after watching a couple of matches being played out.
- MI has won 8 out of the last 10 matches against RCB. More importantly, that includes three out of the last four matches as well.
- MI has lost all of its opening matches since IPL 2013
- MI and RCB have played each other in Chennai only twice before with both teams winning one match each.
- Virat Kohli with 695 runs and AB de Villiers with 634 runs are the best batsmen in matches between MI and RCB while Yuzvendra Chahal with 21 wickets and Jasprit Bumrah with 19 wickets are the bowlers with the best records in such matches
These stats show us that while RCB players provide better individual performances, they do not result in victories for their team very often. The overall strength of MI ends up being victorious on more occasions than not.
Mumbai Indians are the pre-tournament favorites and that is for a good reason. No team has won more matches in the previous three years than the Mumbai Indians. They do tend to lose the first match of the tournament, though, and have now lost their previous eight opening matches of the IPL in a row. RCB has a strong team and with Virat Kohli back in form, this could be the perfect opportunity to defeat MI before it hits top gear.
Winner – Royal Challengers Bangalore