The Indian T20 League returns for its 2021 campaign with a cracker of an opening match in Mumbai vs Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.

While defending champions Mumbai will look to create history by winning the Indian T20 League title for the third consecutive time coming into the 14th edition, Virat Kohli’s Bangalore, on other hand, will aim to end their title drought.

Winning the title in 2020, the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai have stuck to their winning formula by retaining most of the players from the victorious campaign. The notable additions to Mumbai’s squad for this season are Nathan Coulter-Nile and Piyush Chawla among others.

A playoffs spot last season was not enough for the Bangalore franchise and they went aggressive during the auction in February. Bangalore’s big buys included Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson and Dan Christian.

Mumbai vs Bangalore full squads

Mumbai: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jayant Yadav, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, James Neesham, Marco Jansen, Yudhvir Charak, Arjun Tendulkar.

Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers (wicket-keeper), Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Finn Allen (wicket-keeper), Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahamad, Adam Zampa, Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Srikar Bharat, Suyash Prabhudessai.

Mumbai vs Bangalore playing XI predictions

Mumbai’s playing XI is expected to retain its core as it has over the last couple of seasons of the Indian T20 League. With South Africa’s Quinton de Kock unavailable for the opening match of Mumbai, the destructive Chris Lynn is likely to start alongside Rohit Sharma in the opening slot on Friday. With Chennai being a slow wicket, Team Mumbai is expected to see both their spinners Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya feature in the playing XI.

Bangalore will be in experimental mode with a lot of new faces in the squad. With star Glenn Maxwell being an automatic pick, Virat Kohli would bet on Finn Allen to get the job done for him in the middle-order while Kyle Jamieson brings depth in the bowling attack.

Mumbai: Rohit Sharma (captain), Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Coulter-Nile

Bangalore: Mohammed Azharudeen, Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers (wicket-keeper), Finn Allen, Glenn Maxwell, Rajat Patidar, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Kyle Jamieson

Mumbai vs Bangalore head-to-head in Indian T20 League

Five-time Indian T20 League champions Mumbai have a clear edge over Bangalore in the head-to-head record. The two sides have played 27 times in the tournament with Mumbai winning on 17 occasions and losing 10 matches.

Mumbai's win percentage is quite substantial in Chennai, where they have won five of the eight matches they have played. Bangalore, on the other hand, have won only twice despite playing nine times.

Mumbai vs Bangalore: Match result prediction

Apart from the fact that Team Mumbai wins 62.96 per cent of their matches against Bangalore, the defending champions also enjoy the massive advantage of a well-settled squad. Most players in Mumbai's playing XI have been playing together for years and compensate each other’s limitations efficiently.

Bangalore, meanwhile, will need to find the right balance in their team balance to put up a profitable performance. While Glenn Maxwell's inclusion alongside Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers makes Bangalore a star-studded T20 side, the team's overreliance on the few stars has often brought their downfall.

Best performers in Mumbai vs Bangalore

Top tip: Best batsmen

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma will be expected to continue his blistering form against Bangalore on Friday. Having played 27 times against Bangalore in the tournament so far, Rohit Sharma has aggregated 697 runs with seven half-centuries to his name.

For Bangalore, AB de Villiers remains a major threat for Mumbai. The former South Africa captain has played 23 matches against Mumbai, tallying a whopping 726 runs with an average of 45.31 and at a strike rate of 147.07.

Top tip: Best bowlers

Mumbai will undoubtedly bank highly on Jasprit Bumrah to get the job done for them. The pacer has scalped 19 wickets against Bangalore in 15 matches at an impressive average of 23.05.

For Virat Kohli, the reliable Yuzvendra Chahal will continue to be the wrecker-in-chief. Like Bumrah, the wrist-spinner also has 19 wickets in 13 matches against Mumbai with an even better average of 21.78.

Top tip: All-rounders and wicket-keepers

With Quinton de Kock out of contention and Ishan Kishan likely to take up his role for Mumbai, AB de Villiers remains the best player behind the stumps from both teams although he is not the usual first-choice wicket-keeper for Bangalore. Nevertheless, AB de Villiers has done decently with the gloves as he has registered 18 catch dismissals and eight stumpings to his name.

While there is no dearth of all-rounders in the Mumbai squad, one of Bangalore's biggest weaknesses has been their lack of a quality all-rounder. While the Pandya brothers - Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya - can be dexterous with both bat and ball against Bangalore, Virat Kohli's biggest fear will be Kieron Pollard. The Trinidadian has 537 runs to his name in 23 matches at a strike rate of 167.28.

Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Indranil Mukherjee