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 players to watch-out for in the thrilling opening match:
#3 Suryakumar Yadav
The 30-year-old made his India debut in the T20I series against England in India. While he didn’t get to bat in his first match (2nd T20I), he came back with a bang and scored a brilliant 57 in the fourth game, and followed it with a fluent 32 in the fifth and final T20I. Suryakumar has been playing a crucial role for MI in the past three seasons. Last year, he amassed 480 runs at a strike rate of 145.01 in 16 matches with four half-centuries to his name. He was impressive in the 2019 season as well, when Yadav had score 424 runs while his best IPL return came in the 2018 season when he scored 512 runs in 14 matches.