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IPL 2014: Fantasy Guru - Pitches being more predictable helps

IPL 2014 Fantasy Cricket tips and tricks for the IPL official league

If you think that you have started a little too late for the official IPL Fantasy League 2014, you can always play this alternative version of fantasy cricket where you can win cash prizes daily - SportskeedaFantasyLeague. The next round has two matches featuring four teams: Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils.

In this type of fantasy cricket, while assembling your playing 11 for the two matches, make sure you don’t miss out on players like Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper, Praveen Kumar, Rahul Shukla and Karun Nair who could prove to be the differential at a comparatively lower rate. While you can play for free, if you choose to play with an entry fee to Rs 35, you can win Rs 300. You can pay upto Rs 1,150 and win Rs 10,000 in cash for every round.

I didn’t make a couple of changes I had planned to – bringing in Kevin Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik – for a number of reasons went against them.

1. The pitch at Hyderabad not being a turner, which would mean both Aaron Finch and David Warner coming back into my plans.
2. Delhi Daredevils bringing in Murali Vijay and sticking with Mayank Agarwal, which meant Dinesh Karthik could bat as low as No. 6 and Pietersen could be back to No. 4.
3. Royal Challengers Bangalore bringing in Muttiah Muralitharan, which meant Kevin Pietersen had to attack Yuzvendra Chahal.
4. The rain threat around the match that could have wasted two precious transfers, as Delhi Daredevils were chasing.

So the team would look quite different, but these are the last minute changes you need to do as per the demands. The substitutions that I make have logical reasons, and hence they could be changed at the last minute depending upon the conditions and the opposition.

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Kings X1 Punjab:

Guru’s team for SRH vs. KXIP fixture

Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 26

David Warner in – Shane Watson out
Bhuvneshwar Kumar in – Suresh Raina out
Sandeep Sharma in – Pravin Tambe out
Captain – Glenn Maxwell/David Warner/Bhuvneshwar Kumar

I was expecting the pitch at Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad, to be a turner and therefore had come to a conclusion that I wouldn’t need both Finch and Warner. If the last match is anything to go by, the deck this year would be flat and assist batsmen big time. While Warner looks good for this fixture taking into consideration the below-par death bowling unit of Kings X1, Finch looks good for the next when you consider the fact that Warner, coming in at No. 4, will be up against Sunil Narine.

Finch has a couple of factors going against him: first 5 overs from Sandeep Sharma and Mitchell Johnson and left-arm spin of Akshar Patel. The probability of him getting past these two isn’t that great. Adding to it, he hasn’t been helping himself with a number of soft dismissals, getting out to deliveries that totally don’t deserve wickets and that too of a batsman of Finch’s T20 class. So, he stays out; even if he comes good, this is not something that I would regret, as the process matters more than the result.

When you take Warner, (most probably) he would neither face the swinging cherry nor be troubled by deliveries that would be coming in, and he should go hammer and tongs at the death. Therefore, he comes in.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar would be the next Sunrisers player to find a spot. While the Kings X1 has a susceptible top 3, which includes Virender Sehwag as well, even the best of Knight Riders batsmen – Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa – are highly prone to getting out when exposed to quality swing. It would be a blunder to not have him, and therefore he makes his way into the team, too.

No other Sunrisers player is worth considering. When it comes to Kings X1, I already have Glenn Maxwell in my team, and, on this wicket, he should be amongst runs. David Miller is an equally good option, but I don’t want to use up a transfer now, as the Preity Zinta-owned franchise next plays only after a span of 5 matches.

Uncapped player pick:

Karan Sharma should be fortunate to get wickets on this pitch. Lokesh Rahul has the potential but has time and again failed to make the opportunities count. Akshar Patel and Sandeep Sharma look the best of the lot; I go in with Sandeep Sharma for that bit of early swing on offer.

Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Mumbai Indians:

Guru’s team for KKR vs. MI fixture

Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 24

Sunil Narine in – Glenn Maxwell out
Jasprit Bumrah in - Sandeep Sharma out
Gautam Gambhir/Robin Uthappa in – Mayank Agarwal out (Based on Praveen Kumar’s inclusion)

Captain – Lasith Malinga

With Rohit Sharma and Lasith Malinga in my team, the two other Mumbai players who draw attention are Ambati Rayudu and Praveen Kumar. Rayudu was 1 of the 4 budget picks that I built my team around at the start of the competition, but it looks like he waited till I threw him out, to deliver. I don’t see him coming into my team again at the cost of a transfer, and, moreover, he won’t harm much by staying out.

I don’t quite understand why Mumbai dropped Praveen Kumar after he made look Dwayne Smith a fish out of water. I can’t rule out the possibility of them doing it again, which keeps him out, as well.

Mumbai think-tank has been making completely illogical decisions, and I hope they make one more: stick with Pragyan Ojha. If they do it, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa look very good to boss the game (Lasith Malinga’s yorkers an exception).

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