Owing to the COVID-19 situation, no team will play their group-stage games at home, so it would be interesting how teams adapt and change their strategies accordingly.
The last time RCB played in Chennai, they were bowled out for a paltry 70 runs. While the wicket looks better this time, Virat Kohli's men would look to exercise caution and try to get their campaign off to a winning start.
RCB have received a much-needed shot in the arm, as Devdutt Padikkal, who had a fabulous IPL 2020 campaign, is likely to be available for selection. He was their highest run-scorer last season but faced the possibility of missing a few games after testing positive for COVID-19.
However, RCB's bowling attack could be a cause for concern, as their overseas imports have very little experience of playing in sub-continent conditions. It'll be interesting to see how the likes of Kyle Jamieson and Dan Christian fare this year after RCB paid the big bucks for their services.
RCB's spinners look good, with Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar doing a decent job last season. Glenn Maxwell could also be eager to contribute with the ball.
Meanwhile, defending champions Mumbai Indians, once again, look like the team to beat this season. Quinton De Kock will miss the first game, as he'll be undergoing his mandatory quarantine after arriving from national duty. Chris Lynn could make his Mumbai Indians debut in this game.
MI's spin bowling is one area of concern, though. Despite the arrival of Piyush Chawla, the five-time IPL winners seem to lack variety, and the onus will be on Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar to deliver the goods.
MI are scheduled to play nine games on rather sluggish venues (five in Chennai and four in Ahmedabad), so the performances of their spinners could have a say on how they fare this season. Otherwise, Mumbai Indians look to have all their bases covered, with their batting and pace bowling attack arguably the best in the IPL.
The clash between the two powerhouses could be an enthralling one, as both teams would look to start their IPL 2021 campaigns on a winning note.
Click here for today IPL pitch report.
IPL 2021: MI vs RCB Match Details
Date: 9th April 2021 (Friday).
Time: 7:30 PM IST.
Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
It should be warm and humid in Chennai for this game. Dew could play a role in the second innings, though. An average temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius is likely for the IPL 2021 opener.
The last match played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium assisted the spinners, a trend that could continue in the IPL 2021 opener too. Anything above 150 could be a competitive total on a sluggish wicket.
Chris Lynn could slot in at the top of the order for MI in place of Quinton De Kock.
Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile,and Trent Boult should be the three other overseas picks for MI. However, they could take a page out of CSK's book and play only three overseas players and field Piyush Chawla instead of Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard could bowl a few overs of pace as well.
Mumbai Indians: Chris Lynn, Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakuma Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile/ Piyush Chawla, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Devdutt Padikkal is likely to open with captain Virat Kohli for RCB. Maxwell could slot in at either no. 4 or 5, depending on where Mohammed Azharudeen bats. The Kerala wicket-keeper batsman is also likely to be behind the stumps for RCB.
Meanwhile, Dan Christian and Kyle Jamieson could be the two other foreign players in the RCB XI. Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj will likely be the team's two Indian pacers, although they could opt to play Shahbaz Ahmed to give them an extra spin-bowling option.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Devdutt Padikkal/ Rajat Patidar, Virat Kohli (C), AB De Villiers, Mohammed Azharuddeen (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj/ Shahbaz Ahmed, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal.
IPL 2021: MI vs RCB Match Prediction
Virat Kohli's side wears a bit of an unsettled look, especially as some of their players have no experience playing in subcontinent conditions. While RCB's spin attack looks superior than MI's, the defending champions' well-oiled and consistent unit should see the defending champions edge out RCB in this fixture.
Prediction: Mumbai Indians to win.
IPL 2021: MI vs RCB TV and Live Streaming Details
TV: Star Sports Network.
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP.