Royal Challengers Bangalore will play Mumbai Indians in the season opener of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 on Friday in Chennai. Last year, the Virat Kohli-led team made it to the knockout stages for the first time since 2016, and they will look to build on that this year. Though RCB has kept veteran stars including Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Yuzvendra Chahal, as well as a solid Indian core of Devdutt Padikkal, Washington Sundar, and Mohammed Siraj, they also went big in the mini-auction and added Glenn Maxwell to the middle order and Kyle Jamieson from New Zealand to the bowling department.
Though Kohli has yet to win an IPL trophy, the opener pits him against Mumbai Indians, who have won the tournament a record five times under Rohit Sharma.
The India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain is in fine form heading into IPL 2021. Kohli scored the most runs in the five-match T20 International series against England, with three scorching half-centuries. Kohli then went on to hit two half-centuries in the ODI series that followed, and he seems to be in fine shape. Kohli will open the batting for RCB this season, a role he held in 2016, the last time they reached the final. The season, he hit four centuries, and RCB will be hoping he can replicate that form this year at the top.
Last season, they scored 466 runs in 15 games, averaging 42.36 runs per game. His strike rate, on the other hand, was just 121.35, and he’ll be hoping to score more often this season.
AB de Villiers
For many years since becoming captain, AB de Villiers has been Virat Kohli’s partner-in-crime and RCB’s most dependable batsman, and they will be looking to him to prove his class against what is probably the best bowling attack in the game. The South African has a strong record against the Mumbai Indians, including a brilliant 133 off 59 deliveries in 2015. Even in the first league meeting between the two teams last year, de Villiers broke an undefeated 55 off just 24 deliveries.
Last season, he hit 158.74 percent of his pitches for 454 runs in 15 games. He had a 45.40 ranking.
Since joining RCB, the wily leg-spinner has become the team’s most effective bowler, and he’ll be salivating at the prospect of facing Mumbai Indians at the spin-friendly Chepauk stadium. Last year, he was their best bowler, taking 21 wickets at an average of 19.28.
With RCB facing a lethal batting line-up that includes Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, Kohli will be counting on Chahal to be his go-to bowler and pick up some wickets once more.