In the tournament opener of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be locking horns with the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in Chennai on Friday. Despite the fact that it’ll be a clash between the two heavy-weights, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, there are numerous other players that have the ability to tilt the balance of the game in their team’s favor.
MI roster boasts of some massive international names apart from their strong Indian core, which has the reason behind their success over the years. Few teams can boast of an Indian core like Rohit Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik and Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar.
On the other hand, RCB had qualified for the knockout stages last year for the first time since 2016 and will be eyeing to win the trophy this year. While RCB has held on to seasoned stars like Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Yuzvendra Chahal, they also boast a strong Indian core of Devdutt Padikkal, Washington Sundar, and Mohammed Siraj. RCB also went big in the mini-auction and got Glenn Maxwell to add some firepower in the middle orders and New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson for some depth in the bowling department.
While Kohli is yet to win his maiden IPL trophy, the opener comes against Mumbai Indians, who Rohit Sharma has led to the title a record five times. Here are the three-player battles to watch out for in the thrilling opening match:
#2 Jasprit Bumrah vs Devdutt Padikkal
RCB locked horns with MI two times in IPL 2020 and both the team won one game each, One of the chief reasons RCB won their game was because they got off to a good start in both the games which was given by Devdutt Padikkal. However, in the second game, it was Jaspirt Bumrah wo wreak havoc over RCB
The young RCB opener enjoyed an impressive tournament scoring 473 runs with the help of 5 half-centuries. On the other hand, Bumrah also had the best season in his career as many as 27 wickets as MI romped to a record-extending fifth title. Apart from the wickets, the 27-year-old managed to bowl at a miserly economy rate of 6.73.
#5 Suryakumar Yadav vs. Yuzvendra Chahal
Suryakumar Yadav had an unforgettable season as a batsman for the Mumbai Indians as he scored 480 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 145.01, with four fifties. His heroics helped Mi to win their 5th IPL title. In a game against RCB, but Yadav made sure they chase down the total comfortably in the end.
However, RCB leg-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal is in a similar position. He was the highest wicket-taker for his team finishing with 21 wickets in 15 matches, with his best of 4 for 25. Chahal will be eyeing to contoue hos momentum in the IPL this time around.
#3 Virat Kohli vs. Rahul Chahar
Leg-spinners are beginning to get a measure of India and RCB skipper Virat Kohli. He was troubled by England’s Adil Rashid right through the recently concluded limited-overs contest in India. MI leggie Rahul Chahar loves the challenge of getting the better of the best in the business. When the two teams met in the IPL in 2020, Kohli did not last long enough to engage himself in a one-on-one with Chahar.
The RCB captain goes into IPL 2021 on a high, having discovered his form during the series against England with some brutal knocks. He is well aware of the talk surrounding his weaknesses against leg-spinners. And while he will be keen to prove the doubters wrong, the crafty Rahul Chahar will have his own plans in place.