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IPL 2021 begins today: Defenders MI take on Kohli’s RCB

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League is ready to kick off with Mumbai Indians vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore today (9). The two teams are respectively led by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli

As the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is ready to kick off with Mumbai Indians (MI) vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) match, Rohit Sharma has tough task at hand: The task of selecting right playing XI for Mumbai Indians first match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers.

The first and the biggest question before Rohit Sharma is who should open for the defending champions?

The revealed this week that Quinton De Kock will not be available for the opening match of the IPL 2021. This development leaves MI with two options: either Rohit Sharma partners with Chris Lynn or with Ishan Kishan for the first Game.

It is worth noting that Lynn did not get even one chance to show his skills during IPL 2020. On the other hand Kishan has grown in stature since than with brilliant debut for India vs. England. In all likelihood Rohit and Kishan should start MI innings vs. RCB.

Mumbai Indians playing XI Question-2: Piyush Chawla or Rahul Chahar? Another choice Rohit Sharma will have to make will be in regard to specialist spinner in the XI. Rohit and MI management will have a tough time in picking one of Rahul Chahar or Piyush Chawla in the XI.

Chawla was bought by MI for Indian Rs. 2.4 crore in order to strengthen the spin-attack for IPL 2021. But it is unlikely he will be drafted in the XI for the first match as Chahar is all set to be preferred choice for MI in the XI.

Mumbai Indians playing XI Question 3: Who will fill the third seamer Slot?

Lastly, Sharma needs to choose the right bowler to support Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult as the third seamer. It was James Pattinson who played as a third seamer for Mumbai in IPL 2020, but he is no more in the MI squad this time.

Sharma will have to make a choice between Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Dhawal Kulkarni or just recruited Marco Jensen.

This decision will hinge on the conditions. A pacy wicket may tilt the balance in favour of Milne with extra pace while overcast skies might bring Coulter-Nile in the equation. But Milne struggled against Bangladesh while Neesham didn’t play in that series.

Coulter-Nile, on the other hand, had reasonably good stats in Big Bash League. So, the Australian is likely to get the nod ahead of the other names.

As per understanding, Mumbai Indians probable final playing XI for the MI vs. RCB match today:

Rohit Sharma (Captain), Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

RCB full squad for IPL 2021:

Virat Kohli (Captain), AB de Villiers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Philippe, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pavan Deshpande, Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Suyash Prabhudesai, and KS Bharat