It’s Virat Kohli vs Rohit Sharma.
Two different kinds of captains and leaders. One whose body language bristles with aggression. The other who is more laid-back but street smart.
In other words, gun-slinger versus smooth operator.
The IPL lung opener between defending champion Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore could prove intriguing.
The surface for the day-night game at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday should provide good carry in the first half but could assist the spinners later on. Dew could be a big factor.
For RCB much hinges on the opening pair of Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal — he has recovered well from COVID — but they will be up against the deadly combination of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
Bumrah swings the new ball away and then delivers potent yorkers. Boult will be a threat with his swing and left-armer’s angle.
RCB, though, packs batting firepower.
Effortless & destructive
Apart from the gifted A.B. de Villiers who can innovate and create effortlessly, the side has the destructive Glenn Maxwell.
RCB would do well if it utilises the wonderfully fluent batting potential of Washington Sundar. He is also more than an accurate off-spinner.
Mumbai Indians is a complete side. The brutal Rohit can win matches off his own bat.
Then you have the strokeful Quinton de Kock, whose availability for the match could be a touch-and-go affair.
And the side has stupendous domestic talent with the willow; the explosive Ishan Kishan, the smooth-stroking Suryakumar Yadav, the big-hitting Hardik Pandya and the dynamic Krunal Pandya.
Then there is the ‘palm tree hitter’ Kieron Pollard.
In the RCB attack, exciting Kiwi paceman Kyle Jamieson will be watched with keen interest. Washington and Yuzvendra Chahal could also enter the picture.
The opening duel could be a titanic affair.