The IPL 2021 is all set to get underway with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) taking on Mumbai Indians (MI) at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. The dry, slow pitch is expected to aid spinners and the batsmen will find it a bit hard to keep the scoreboard ticking.
While the five-time champions Mumbai Indians have a stronger squad on paper and will start as favorites, Royal Challengers Bangalore have undergone a major squad revamp and look a bit shaky.
Here, we take a look at the three reasons why the RCB could lose IPL 2021's opening encounter against MI.
#1 RCB have no left-handed bowlers in the mix
Royal Challengers Bangalore would not be able avail the services of their only left-arm pacer Daniel Sams, who recently tested positive for COVID-19. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, and Hardik Pandya have struggled against left-arm bowlers, falling prey to their stock balls in the past.
With no other left-arm bowlers in the squad, the RCB's bowling attack already looks weakened against Mumbai Indians' formidable batting line-up. The RCB will be forced to choose among Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, and Kane Richardson as Daniel Sams' replacement, with the trio being right-arm pacers.
#2 Dearth of experienced middle-order batsmen
Apart from the likes of AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell, RCB have no reliable middle-order batsman at their disposal.
With players like KS Bharat, Rajat Patidar, Suyash Prabhudessai, and Mohammed Azharuddeen yet to play a single IPL match, the RCB could falter due to their inexperience and inability to handle pressure. It would be improbable for the RCB's shaky middle-order to take charge against Mumbai Indians' strong bowling attack.
#3 Yuzvendra Chahal's poor form
Royal Challengers Bangalore are expected to play two spinners - Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar. With Adam Zampa missing out on the first match, RCB would be forced to start with Chahal.
Chahal has racked up several unconvicing performances of late and has looked a shadow of himself. He has not been able to turn the ball properly and his googlies have been hammered away.
Despite playing on the spin-friendly Chennai track, MI can take advantage of out-of-form Chahal's loose balls and bash them for runs.