Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Indian Premier League is all set for a blazing start. The first game of any tournament is a little more challenging for the teams as they have to find a perfect playing XI, which is not always easy, especially in a tournament like IPL, where every team boast of a stellar squad. However, Mumbai Indians have a slight advantage in this case as the core of their team is pretty much the same that played the last season. Quinton de Kock will not be available for selection as he’ll be serving the mandatory quarantine. This will give Mumbai Indians an opportunity to try out Chris Lynn at the top.
Rohit Sharma along with Chris Lynn will be a treat to watch. The middle-order looks pretty settled with Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya while Kieron Pollard will have the responsibility of finishing the innings on a high. A powerful batting is backed by an equally strong bowling line up. Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult are one of the best bowlers going around in world cricket while the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Hardik Pandya provide decent support options. Spinners are expected to play a big part in the game which may force Rohit Sharma to go in with three spinners, namely Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya and Piyush Chawla.
RCB have some nightmarish memories of Chennai. The last time they played at this venue, they were bowled out for a humiliating 70. However, they are expected to perform better this time around as Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal and Glenn Maxwell are coming back from some fine performances of late. Also, despite not playing any cricket since the last edition of the IPL, AB de Villiers will be a key cog in RCB’s batting line up. Kohli may also play Mohammed Azharuddeen to relieve AB de Villiers of his keeping duties. Daniel Christian and Washington Sundar add a lot of depth to the team. However, one would expect that most of RCB’s runs will come from the top order.
Over the years, RCB has struggled as a bowling unit but they look slightly better this time around. They’ve included Kyle Jamieson in their squad and will be hopeful of a solid performance from him. Mohammed Siraj has also grown as a top-class bowler. The spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Glenn Maxwell will be very handy on a slow track of Chennai.
Pitch and Weather Report – The wicket is expected to be on the slower side and may offer some turn to the spinners. Also, the short boundaries might tempt the batsmen to play the big shots but they’ve to be very careful against the spinners. Anything over 160 can be challenging to chase. The weather will be humid and the evening temperatures will hover around 28 degrees.
Quinton de Kock won’t be available for the 1st game thus Chris Lynn is most likely to make his Mumbai Indians debut. Also, the conditions in Chennai will be favourable for the spinners thus there is a high possibility of Rohit going in with three spinners.
Player to watch out for
Chris Lynn – Chris Lynn will be a player to keep a keen eye on. The destructive batsman was in fine form in the Big Bash League. He’d love to make a mark and cement his place in the Mumbai setup. If he gets going, Mumbai will end up with a massive score.
Mumbai Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakuma Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult , Jasprit Bumrah.
In a major relief, RCB opener, Devdutt Padikkal, who tested positive for COVID-19 has returned with a negative result. This means that the southpaw is in contention to play tomorrow’s game. Other than him, Mohammed Azharuddeen can also be expected to play as a specialist keeper.
Player watch out for
Glenn Maxwell – Despite not performing well in the last season, RCB spent a hefty amount on Glenn Maxwell. They backed his abilities and now it’s his turn to give it back to the franchise. In addition to his skills with the bat, Maxwell can be very handy with the ball as well.
Bangalore Probable XI: Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB De Villiers, Mohammed Azharuddeen (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal.