IPL Match 1 Preview: Virat Kohli vs Rohit Sharma in Opening Duel

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Mumbai Indians (MI), looking to win their sixth Indian Premier League (IPL) title and complete a hat-trick of titles will face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who are yet to win a title, in the inaugural game of the Indian Premier League 2021, here on Friday night.

The battle will be between two of India's finest white-ball players. Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are among the best international batsmen in white ball cricket and are India's most experienced players. While Sharma will lead MI, Kohli will lead RCB.

Also Read: RCB Has the Strongest Squad in IPL 2021: Virat Kohli

On paper, MI are like a well-oiled machine. The players have been around for years and have tasted success. They know the formula needed to get success.

RCB, on the other hand, have always struggled to get their combination right. Often, their middle-order batting has been found wanting while their pace bowling has lacked variety.

Last year though, they did well to make it to the play-offs and for this year, they have brought in some impact players like hard-hitter Glenn Maxwell and express pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, who can also provide hard-hitting option at the end.

MI have won almost double the number of games played between the two teams over the years.

While MI have won 17 matches, RCB have won just 9 matches.

The Mumbai franchise will no doubt go in as favourites again in the tournament opener. But RCB's power-packed line-up may just surprise them.

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The big worry for RCB would be Devdutt Padikkal. While the left-handed opening batsmen, who impressed in his debut season with RCB in 2020, has joined the team after testing negative for Covid-19 following a positive test, it will be interesting to see if RCB play him in the tournament opener.

Also Read: RCB’s Devdutt Padikkal Recovers from COVID-19, Joins Camp

In Mumbai Indians' case, they will be in two minds on South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who has just arrived from an ODI series at home against Pakistan.

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