Royal Challengers Bangalore take on defending champions Mumbai Indians on Friday (April 9) to kickstart IPL 2021 and both sides will look to get their campaign off to a rollicking start. Virat Kohli's RCB are still looking for that elusive first trophy, while MI are in the hunt for their sixth IPL triumph.
Both sides boast quality players on their rosters and the opening IPL match promises to be an intriguing encounter.
While Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan will be hoping to put up a solid start against a team with a rather erratic bowling attack, RCB's big guns in Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell will hope to fire on all cylinders right from the outset.
Ahead of the the much-anticipated match in Chennai, here are three player battles to watch out for.
IPL 2021: Player vs Player battle
#1 Rohit Sharma vs Kylie Jamieson
The world's most elegant batsman vs one of the fastest pacers on the circuit. Kyle Jamieson's height can help him force batsmen into errors. But will Rohit take the bait? The disguised slower delivery has been a weakness of sorts for the MI skipper and Jamieson will be looking to claim Rohit as his maiden IPL 2021 scalp.
The advantage leans towards Rohit largely due to his vast experience in the IPL. He's seen similar pacy customers in Tymal Mills, Jofra Archer and his very own former mate, Lasith Malinga. This battle will be one lip-smacking encounter.
The pressure though will be on Jamieson. He has to justify the weight of expectations on him with a 15 crore-price tag, bestowed on him by a tournament he's never played in before.
#2 Virat Kohli vs Trent Boult
Boult has got Kohli out six times so far. The RCB skipper has a tendency to be troubled by left-arm seamers and the Kiwi quick has had the better of the batsman by getting the ball to nip back in.
With Kohli now promoting himself to open the batting, negotiating Boult's thunderbolts will be tricky. Boult was the third highest wicket-taker last season and will be itching to take the top spot in IPL 2021.
#3 Glenn Maxwell vs Rahul Chahar
For once, Maxwell will be relieved he won't be facing Yuzvendra Chahal who had him in a tangle in most of their previous encounters. But his weakness towards wrist spinners is a key factor and Rohit will definitely toss the ball to Chahar to spin a web around the hard-hitting Aussie when he walks out to bat donning the RCB colours.
Maxwell is coming off a below-par season with the Punjab Kings and will be raring to make a mark with his new franchise.