IPL 2021 is set to kickstart on April 9, with the opening match to held between defending champions Mumbai Indians and 3-times finalist Royal Challengers Bangalore. The opening match is crucial to the success of the tournament. Cricwizz takes a look at unique stats on IPL opening matches across 13 seasons.
MI lose four out of four
Mumbai Indians, which have won five titles so far, have not won a single season's opening match while playing like defending champions. They lost the season's opener in 2014 to KKR by 41 runs, to RPS by 9 wickets in 2016, to CSK by 1 wicket in 2018, to CSK again by 5 wickets in 2020 as defending champions. Now, if they lose their 2021 season's opener against RCB, it would be 5 losses as defending champions.
CSK does it twice
CSK are the only team to have gone on to win the IPL tournament twice after winning the season's opening match. They did it first in IPL 2011. They defeated KKR by 2 runs in the season’s opener as defending champions and went on to retain the title. They did it again in 2018. They defeated MI in the season’s opener and went on to win the title.
KKR have done it once. They defeated MI in IPL 2014 season’s opener and went on to win the title.
CSK, the win stealers
The smallest margin of victory in the season’s opener has been 1 wicket and 2 runs – both registered by CSK. MS Dhoni-led team defeated KKR by 2 runs in IPL 2011's season opener. CSK defeated MI by 1 wicket in IPL 2018's season opener.
MI have featured in 7 IPL season openers – winning 2 and losing 5 – the most by any team. They will extend the record to 8 when they face RCB in the 2021 season opener.
CSK have featured in 6 IPL season openers – winning 4 and losing 2. Both their losses came against MI in 2009 and 2012. KKR too have featured in 6 IPL season openers – winning 5 and losing only once to CSK by 2 runs in 2011.
Dhoni - the lone player in this club
MS Dhoni is the only player to feature in 7 IPL season’s openers. He has been part of the winning side 5 times – 4 as CSK captain and once as a Rising Pune Supergiant player.
RCB have lost both the IPL season openers they have been part of. They lost the 2008's season opener to KKR and 2019's season opener to CSK.
Delhi Daredevils (2013) and Deccan Chargers (2010) are the other two teams to have lost the lone IPL season openers they have been part of.
Cover image: Brendon McCullum of KKR during IPL 2008's opening match against RCB
Cover image courtesy: Sportzwiki