Defending champions Mumbai Indians will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the lung-opener of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
In wake of the COVID-19 surge in India, no team will play its group stage games at home. That said, it will be extremely important for teams to adapt to the conditions as early as possible.
History indicates that MI have an upper hand in this battle, having won 17 of the 27 matches between the two sides.
RCB received two major scares ahead of the tournament’s start as Devdutt Padikkal and Daniel Sams returned positive COVID-19 reports. While Padikkal tested negative in his recent report, he might not be a certainty for this game due to the quarantine period and related requirements. Mohammad Azharuddin then could walk out to open alongside Virat Kohli. Glenn Maxwell had an appalling season last year and will be eager to make a statement right from the word go.
With the match being played on spinner-friendly conditions at Chepauk, Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar will have key role to play. But since their overseas pacers – Kyle Jamieson and Daniel Christian - have little to no experience of playing in the subcontinent conditons, the eyeballs will be on them.
Mumbai Indians will be spoilt for choice since their entire squad is fully fit. Their left-handed opener Quinton de Kock, however, is expected to miss out since he was recently part of the South Africa-Pakistan series, and will have to follow the mandatory quarantine requirements. Rohit Sharma and Chris Lynn could be a possible opening combo or the franchise might even send Ishan Kishan at the top. As always, their core in the middle order – the Pandya brothers (Hardik and Krunal) and Kieron Pollard is what the oppositions will be vary of.
Another question before the MI think tank will be the third seamer, who will partner Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. Here, again, they have a problem of plenty, with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Dhawal Kulkarni or Marco Jansen in their ranks. Spinners Rahul Chahar and Piyush Chawla are both likely to make the XI given Chennai’s conditions. However, they might only stick to Rahul, who’s been a part of the franchise’s scheme of things for quite some time now, given Krunal’s a certain spinning option.
Here's all you need to know about the opening match of IPL 2021 between MI and RCB:
When will IPL's opening match between MI and RCB take place?
The opening encounter of IPL 2021 between MI and RCB will take place on 9 April, 2021.
What is the venue for the match?
The match will take place at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
What time will the match start?
The match will begin at 7.30 pm IST. The toss will take place at 7 pm IST.
Which TV channels will broadcast the match?
The match will telecast on the Star Sports Network. The live streaming of the match will also available on Hotstar. Besides, you can browse Firstpost.com for the live updates and over-by-over commentary.
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Devdutt Padikkal contracted coronavirus on 22 March and was in isolation, but has since completely recovered and resumed practice with his RCB teammates.
Rohit Sharma missed some part of the IPL last year and the initial portion of the Australia tour, including the white-ball leg, due to the hamstring injury.
All you need to know about Royal Challengers Bangalore