IPL 2021, MI vs RCB: Neutral venue record a source of inspiration for Kohli & Co

Virat Kohli
Rohit Sharma
Mahela Jayawardene

Mumbai Indians will open their title defense in IPL 2021 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday at the Chepauk stadium in Chennai. MI have not won the opening match of their season since 2012 and that is a trend Rohit Sharma and his men would want to change, just like they changed the trend of not winning in an even year in 2020.

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A look at the head to head between these two sides will clearly show which team starts favourites. Mumbai Indians, just like their record against most other teams, have a vice-like grip on this rivalry. They have won 17 times in 27 meeting, while Virat Kohli and his team have won on 9 occasions.

This is the first time an IPL season is starting with 6 months of the previous tournament and this allows for a sense of continuance. Although the 2020 tournament was played in UAE, the pitches weren't too much different from those in India. The only major difference, if any, would be the impact of spinners on the matches.

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While both teams reached the play-offs, a break down of the results show MI have a comfortable edge over in terms of winning matches while batting first and chasing.

So, what can Virat Kohli and his men do? Well, what they have been doing when they take on MI on neutral venues. The two teams have locked horns away from their den on 6 occasions with RCB coming out on top in 4 of those matches. They were also victorious in their only meeting in Chennai.

But more than looking at stats, Kohli and his men would want to be aggressive and not give an inch to a team which thrives on blowing opposition teams away by outplaying them in either of the two departments.

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