Amidst the rising COVID-19 cases and a possible lockdown hovering around, there comes that time of the year when we are up for another exciting season of the IPL. Defending champions, Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the opening fixture of IPL 2021 at Chennai. As for MI, their starting XI looks fixed and even the management won’t tinker with the winning combination. A strong Indian batting core supported by some experienced overseas bowlers, perfectly rounds off the success mantra for MI. With the curtain raiser not too far away, we attempt to predict the overseas players for MI. Here are the 4 overseas players, who could take the field for MI in the opening fixture:
1. Quinton de Kock
MI’s no.1 wicketkeeper batsman, de Kock is certain to open the innings in the company of Rohit Sharma. The man was phenomenal in IPL 2020, where he played the role of an aggressor, taking the pressure off Rohit and capitalizing on the powerplay overs.
His belligerent approach assisted in breaking the backbone of a stiff run-chase and allowed the middle-order to bide some time, building their innings. The strategy naturally augured well for the side, who not only dominated the league phase but went onto lift the trophy for a record 5th time.
2. Kieron Pollard
The mainstay for MI in the middle order since his purchase for the 2010 season, Pollard is not just the no.1 batting all-rounder in the side but also a crucial member of the core group which makes all the tough calls. He was very destructive with the bat during the 2020 season, clearing the bigger boundaries of Abu Dhabi and Dubai with consummate ease.
The fireworks displayed by Pollard propelled the MI side to daunting totals on the board and gave enough for their illustrious bowlers to bowl at. Having recently struck 6 sixes in an over in an international game against Sri Lanka, Pollard will be raring to hit the ground running for his second home, MI.
3. Nathan Coulter-Nile
The tall Australian bowler performed decently for MI in the 2020 season in the limited opportunities that came his way. In fact, he was the second best bowler for them in the summit clash against DC, picking 2-29 and helping MI restrict the opposition for a par score of 156-7.
Not just that, he was spectacular for the Stars at BBL 10, getting wickets in the powerplay overs and at the death. Given such impressive credentials with the ball and an ability to wield the willow coming lower down, Coulter-Nile has to occupy one of the overseas slots in the opening fixture.
4. Trent Boult
The best-traded player in the history of the IPL, Boult turned around his fortunes after his transfer to MI from DC for the 2020 season. The management used him as a powerplay wicket-taker, who compelled batsmen to give away their wickets bowling some impeccable lines and lengths. He was not always at his best bowling at the death, but the skipper and the coaches continued backing him and now the results are for everyone to see.
Boult produced his best IPL figures of 4-18 against CSK, playing for MI at Sharjah and was also their pick of the bowler in the final, scalping 3-30. Considering all these points, he is the first-choice overseas pacer for the team, opening the innings along with Bumrah and getting the better of the opposition.