The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League is almost here, with defending champions Mumbai Indians all set to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening contest. While the former have been the most successful team in IPL history, winning the title five times, the latter are yet to lift the trophy.
It will come as no surprise that MI have been the dominant team in this fixture, having defeated RCB 17 times in 27 IPL contests between the two teams. Mumbai have a slight edge when it comes to recent clashes as well, winning three out of the last five matches against the team from Bengaluru.
Overall: Matches – 27 | MI – 17 Wins | RCB – 10 Wins
Last 5 Matches: MI – 3 Wins | RCB – 2 Wins
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms, we have come up with one team.
This match will be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. There have been eight T20 matches held here since 2019 and, among the six stadiums hosting matches in IPL 2021, a run-rate of 7.1 is the least during the aforementioned period.
Since 2019, a wicket has fallen every 24.2 runs and 20.5 deliveries, which are more middle of the road stats. While scoring might be tough at this stadium, wickets tend to fall at a par rate.
Unlike most other stadiums in T20 cricket, Chepauk has often seen spinners being a greater wicket-taking threat than pacers. Since 2019, spin has accounted over 60% of the dismissals here in T20 cricket. On the other hand, while pacers have bowled 46.9% of the overs, they’ve taken only 38.8% of the wickets.
Across parameters, be it economy rate (6 vs 8.2), average (18.5 vs 35.5) or strike rate (18.7 vs 26), spinners come out on top. Hence, we have decided to go with two frontline spinners and Glenn Maxwell in our team.
But it’s important to wait until the toss to make your final time. More so for this match, because not only are playing XIs tough to predict at the start of the tournament, there is the issue of quarantine for some players. If Devdutt Padikkal is available, you should look to select him in your team.
There could be a few interesting match-ups too.
Kieron Pollard has done well against RCB in the past, so Virat Kohli and Co. will be extra wary of the threat possessed by the West Indies all-rounder. RCB might look to Yuzvendra Chahal when Pollard comes out to bat as the India leg-spinner has dismissed Pollard five times from 50 deliveries in T20 cricket. But it must be noted though that Pollard still has an impressive batting strike rate of 154 against Chahal.
There’s a chance that Glenn Maxwell and Jasprit Bumrah might come up against each other towards the end of RCB’s innings. Bumrah has a superb record against Maxwell so far in T20 cricket, dismissing him six times in 13 innings while also restricting the batting strike rate to 115.5.
While it often didn’t seem like Virat Kohli was at his best during IPL 2020, he still managed 466 runs at an average of 42.4, which are top numbers. It was his strike rate of 121.4 which was a bit of an issue, but that doesn’t matter much in fantasy cricket. With some uncertainty around team selections, Kohli seems like a safe option to select as captain. At the end of the T20I series between India and England, Kohli mentioned that he will open the batting in the IPL which is a bonus.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Kohli could score 16-39 runs in this match.
Suryakumar Yadav has been excellent since joining his home franchise, scoring 1416 runs at an average of 36.3 and strike rate of 136.3. In fact, during this period, no MI batsman – not even Rohit Sharma (1023) – has scored more runs than him in the IPL. His superb showing during IPL 2020 – 480 runs at an average of 40 and strike rate of 145 – saw him make his international debut earlier this year. He will be key to impress with a T20 World Cup scheduled later in the year.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Suryakumar could score 15-38 runs in this match.
Yuzvendra Chahal didn’t have the best of series against England recently. Yet, we’ve selected him as an X-Factor because the conditions at Chepauk usually tend to favour spinners. Chahal also has an impressive record against MI, having taken 19 wickets in 13 innings at a strike rate of 15.8 against the defending champions in the IPL. He also had a superb 2020 IPL season, ending the tournament as the highest wicket-taker (21) among spinners.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Chahal could take 1-2 wickets in this match.
Kieron Pollard had a fantastic 2020 IPL season with the bat, scoring 268 runs at an average of 53.6 and strike rate of 191.4. In fact, that’s his best average and strike rate in any IPL season until now. That was in tune with Pollard’s performances with the bat in recent times. Since 2019, he has an average of 38.9 and strike rate of 162.1 in T20 cricket. In addition to his batting, he can also get you some valuable points with his bowling and fielding.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Pollard could score 12-29 runs and could take 0-1 wickets in this match.