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The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season begins with the metropolitan derby between Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians (MI) and Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The two teams boast of some spectacular players in the squad who are capable to win the games on their own but with this being the first game of the season, careful selection of team composition will be key to success.
Mumbai Indians have a nearly fully-fit squad available. Despite opening batsman Quinton de Kock joining the franchise late, he might be available for selection from game 1 itself.
It has been learned that De Kock took a bubble-to-bubble transfer from South Africa where he was a part of the bilateral series against Pakistan. Having arrived through a chartered plan, the bubble-to-bubble transfer grants him the exception of fulfilling the mandatory 7-day quarantine. De Kock, hence, might as well be seen opening alongside Rohit against RCB.
As far as the middle-order is concerned, Mumbai hardly have to think twice before finalising their batting composition. Suryakumar Yadav is expected to continue at the No. 3 spot while Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard will complete the batting unit.
Krunal Pandya is spin-bowling all-rounder in the team while one of Piyush Chawla and Jayant Yadav is likely to get the nod, especially considering how Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers fare against leg-spinners. Mumbai hardly change their 2-spinners bowling combination but might be tempted to make an exception this time around.
Rahul Chahar could be the third spinner in the team considering the match is being played at Chepauk, an absolute haven for spinners.
Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah will once again for an ever-reliant pace-bowling unit. Bumrah and Boult were devastatingly good for Mumbai last season, bagging 52 scalps between them. While the Kiwi had done most of the damage with the new ball, Bumrah's yorkers and variations had made life difficult for batters in the slog overs.
MI likely playing XI vs RCB: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Piyush Chawla/Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah