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When we talk about the Indian Premier League, one can not keep aside the importance of the numbers associated with the sport. Let alone for the sport of Cricket, we know how important they are in the sports world. 

With the season opener of the IPL 2021 all set to begin this Friday, Cricwizz brings you an insight into the stats and records of the MI and RCB bowlers in the last 3 editions and how well they have fared in each phase of the shortest format.

Let us first begin with the most crucial phase which is undoubtedly the first six overs of the game. The phase stands to be vital for both the batsmen and the bowlers as both teams look to lay the foundation during this phase.

Phase 1: overs 1-6

The qualities of Mumbai’s well-rounded side shine through as Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers struggle to pose any threat to the Mumbai Indians batsman in the first six overs. While Mumbai bowlers have picked up 40 wickets in the first six overs, RCB bowlers have only managed 16, and this shows the ineffectiveness of the RCB bowlers in the power play overs. RCB’s most economical bowler Washington Sundar in the powerplay overs still loses out in comparison with the least economical bowler of Mumbai Indians Krunal Pandya.

MI RCB IPL
Phase 1: overs 1-6

Mumbai surely reaps the benefits of having world-class new ball bowlers in the form of Jasprit Burmah and Trent Boult. With 128 overs between them, the pair has shown tremendous success in getting early breakthroughs for the Mumbai team. RCB bowlers clearly struggle in this area as Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini are very expensive, with only Siraj tasting some form of praise having a strike rate of 17.56  by picking up 9 wickets in 26.2 overs

Verdict: RCB’s top order will meet a force of strength in the pair of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. With surely all eyes on Boult, whose pace and swing can trouble any batsman in the world. But if there is any top order in the world fit to tackle them, RCB possesses it.

Phase 2: overs 7-16

RCB certainly found their main man in Yuzvendra Chahal. India’s premier spin bowler in the shorter formats. His talents shine through in the middle overs, claiming 41 wickets from 116.3 overs with a strike rate of 17.05. Washington Sundar also plays his part, who plays a good role in holding down the fort on the other end and applying pressure on the batsmen. 

MI RCB IPL
Phase 2: overs 7-16

Though Rahul Chahar has shone in the IPL last year and possesses some challenges to Chahal. The stats show he has some way to go before he can emulate his national team senior player. Spin is certainly a department RCB has the upper hand. If we compare the all-rounder bowling options of both teams, Kieron Pollard of Mumbai Indians and Glenn Maxwell of Royal Challengers Bangalore fail to inspire confidence. With Maxwell just edging out with a better economy rate and strike rate.

Verdict: RCB clearly holds the better spin bowling options. Considering the fact, the match is taking place in Chennai which has spin-friendly tracks. This would give RCB a chance to fight back against the strength of the Mumbai Indian bowling attack. 

Phase 3: overs 17-20

Not many teams boast the services of a player like Jasprit Bumrah, let alone Bumrah plus Trent Boult. RCB’s inexperienced pace attack certainly comes short and does not compare in skill nor in the know-how of bowling in the death overs. Bumrah’s economy of 7.92 certainly stands out in the death, as batsmen aim for 10-15 runs in the last overs of the game. His strike rate of 12.58 taking 33 wickets in 69.1 overs clearly proves his prowess and effectiveness in the final overs of the game.

MI RCB IPL
Phase 3: overs 17-20

Though almost equally adept in taking wickets, it is the runs leaked in the death that hurt Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini. With an economy of 9.52 runs per over by Siraj and 8.96 runs per over by Saini, teams wouldn't be wary of chasing or posting big totals towards the death. With no other bowling options, the RCB management would be hoping these young pacers would improve leaps and bounds in this facet of the game.

Verdict: There is no comparison to the duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult in the death overs and once again their overs could prove vital in the death. The RCB bowlers on average give away close to 45 runs in the last 4 overs and Virat Kohli would be hoping he can in some way bring the damage down.

From our analysis, we see that Mumbai Indians are definitely ahead after winning two out of the three phases. Said that we have the Challengers completely outplay the five-time champions in the middle-overs. It will be once again down to how well the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar manage to keep the MI batsmen in check. 

Bowler to watch out for in each phase of the innings:

Phase 1 (Overs 1-6): Trent Boult (Mumbai Indians)

Phase 2 (Overs 7-16): Yuzvendra Chahal (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Phase 3 (Overs 17-20): Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians)

This brings our insight into the bowler's section for the upcoming league opener between the Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, which is scheduled to take place at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, this Friday. Which among the above stats did you enjoy the most? Stay tuned with Cricwizz throughout the IPL season as we thrive to blow your mind with in-depth analysis and research.

Stats Credits: Arghyadip Ganguly