Not even 24 hours left before the much awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) begins. Defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening game of the IPL 2021, on April 9. This match will be played at the Chepauk in Chennai.
Mumbai have won eight of their last 10 meetings with Bangalore. Mumbai, though, have lost all of their last eight season-openers in the IPL. Given MI's slow start history, RCB will surely fancy their chances to get on the board.
The defending champions are already being billed as the prime title contenders for the sixth time. Given their balance, depth and confidence, it would take a herculean effort by other teams to stop Mumbai from winning for the third time in a row.
It has been 13 years and the RCB unit is yet to taste success in the IPL. They have managed to make to the finals on three occasions, but have faltered at the very last stage. After another failure in 2020, the Virat Kohli-led side would be keen to start their 2021 campaign on a positive note. They would be delighted to have Devdutt Padikkal back. The youngster has recovered from COVID-19 infection and has rejoined the RCB camp.
As we look ahead to a thrilling contest, let us also throw light on those five cricketers who could have a major impact on the game.
1. Jasprit Bumrah
Arguably, Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best bowlers in the shortest version of the game. He is going to be the trump card for MI. The Mumbai pacer has taken 19 wickets against RCB in 15 outings. His ability to operate with both new and old ball makes him an asset. Remember, he can be called upon to give breakthroughs in the powerplay as well as the death overs.