Champions Mumbai to go well in tournament opener

Tipped as potentially the greatest T20 side to ever play the game, the Mumbai Indians get the 2021 Indian Premier League off and running with a clash against the always exciting Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 14th edition of the biggest franchise tournament in world cricket opens its doors again, back home in India, with the most decorated side in IPL history, taking on the bridesmaids RCB, who are still yet to get their hands on the golden trophy.

Keeping the ball rolling

Last year’s champions will be hoping the short gap in between IPL 13 and IPL 14 will help them, as they look to pick up where they left off. The core of the side that saw them victorious last year, will be donning the blue and gold again, and this is why they remain the team to beat.

Led by Indian white ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma, Mumbai will be hoping that he can bring the winning formula from the recent test, ODI and T20 series victories over England this winter, where he played a crucial role at the top of the order. He is likely to include the newly capped Indian duo of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav in the middle order, as MI have strength in every department.

Kieron Pollard has used his winter well to keep him in good form, the West Indies white ball skipper hit six sixes in an over against Sri Lanka, just in case anyone had forgotten about how good he was. With the ball, they will be hoping that Jasprit Bumrah will be able to feature, after the right arm fast missed large chunks of the India vs England series, but Mumbai fans will be optimistic of seeing him share the new ball with kiwi Trent Boult on Friday night.

Different year, same problems?

It seems that at the dawn of every IPL, the same topics are spoken about when discussing the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and that hasn’t changed this season, in my opinion. They very much boast one of the most exciting batting line ups in franchise cricket, but seem to always fail to back it up with the bowlers.

One thing that RCB can always count on is their leader, any team with Virat Kohli at the helm has a chance. The fiery character is one of the greatest with bat in hand, but needs to take his talent and convert it in to silverware.

They have great strength in depth in their spin department, which will give Kohli a selection headache trying to juggle them all, but it is the lack of star power in the seam department which will worry RCB fans, which is why I think they could come up short in this opening match, and potentially as we go deeper in to the tournament, they could pay the penalty for a poor auction.

Match Tip

The opening bowling of RCB against the opening batting of the Mumbai Indians, on paper, looks like a mis-match, so this is why I think that Mumbai will take the two points from the opening match.

I am backing the Mumbai Indians to have a higher opening partnership than the Royal Challengers Bangalore at 1.90 with Betway.

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