The opening match of the Indian Premier League season 12 saw Chennai Super Kings (CSK) masterfully dominate Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). As the action moves to Mumbai for the first Sunday of this season, Mumbai Indians (MI) will hope to pull a rabbit out of their hat against the Delhi Capitals (DC).
Mumbai have a lot to ponder ahead of the start, as key members of their pace department are unavailable. For Delhi, it is not just the start of a new season, but also a new identity to shape new fortunes.
One thing that separates Mumbai from others is their notorious slow starts. In only four of their previous 11 seasons did MI win their opener. The heel injury to Adam Milne has ruled him out of the IPL, while Lasith Malinga is busy will not arrive for the first six matches.
Quinton de Kock is the new addition over the summer and should start this game. Captain Rohit Sharma has a lot of IPL pedigree at his disposal with the likes of Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah making the MI squad.
There are a lot of ifs still hovering around the DC side. Shikhar Dhawan comes back for a new stint, but questions remain over their brittle middle-order. In Prithvi Shaw, Iyer and Rishabh Pant the Capitals side has three of the most exciting youngsters in Indian cricket.
Bowling too looks promising with Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane and Avesh Khan making them look solid than ever. It is, however, still a question of finding the right balance and consistency for the Delhi Capitals side.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Hardik Pandya has been missing in action for quite some time now, owing to his injury concerns. Having recovered fully, the all-rounder could be a good pick for your fantasy side.
Jasprit Bumrah may have taken giant strides internationally in the past year, but it is this tournament that unearthed his talent. His death bowling and efficiency makes him a must pick for your fantasy side.
Sandeep Lamichhane is a super star in Nepal, not for nothing. His consistency with the ball makes him a darling wherever he goes – Big Bash or Bangladesh Premier League or IPL.
MI: 1 Quinton de Kock 2 Rohit Sharma (C) 3 Surya Kumar Yadav 4 Ishan Kishan (WK) 5 Krunal Pandya 6 Kieron Pollard 7 Hardik Pandya 8 Ben Cutting 9 Mitchell McCleneghan 10 Mayank Markande 11 Jasprit Bumrah
DC: 1 Prithvi Shaw 2 Shikhar Dhawan 3 Shreyas Iyer (C) 4 Colin ingram 5 Rishabh Pant (WK) 6 Axar Patel 7 Harshal Patel 8 Sandeep Lamichhane 9 Kagiso Rabada 10 Avesh Khan 11 Trent Boult
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