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IPL 2014: Fantasy Guru - The massive Ranchi setback and the Glenn Maxwell conundrum

If you think that you have started 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: Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals.

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 Manan Vohra, Lendl Simmons, Jasprit Bumrah, Akshar Patel, Sanju Samson 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 up to Rs 1,150 and win Rs 10,000 in cash for every round.

Guru’s team after the CSK vs. SRH match

From a rank turner to a belter, Chennai Super Kings, in the process, not only lost the match but screwed my fantasy team, as well. This Ranchi deck was one reason why I carried Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja all along; the other reason being the Eden Gardens’ strip, and you know what happened there. I have never witnessed such drastic change in the nature of the pitches ever before in all the years I have played fantasy cricket.   

In addition to my players not scoring points, what this also led to was David Warner and Dwayne Smith contributing heavily in the last fixture. Had it been a turner, both Warner and Dwayne would not have had answers to Ashwin and Parvez Rasool respectively. I did know before the match that the pitch wasn’t going to be the same, as it was evident from what both MS Dhoni and Darren Sammy had to say.

I had three options: to pick one among David Warner, Francois du Plessis and Dwayne Smith. Obviously, I cannot drop Ashwin or Jadeja; had they fluked their way to a 2-wicket haul, it would have been a hammer blow. 

The pitch could slow down as the match progressed, so I didn’t get Warner in. Also, he has almost always choked while chasing bigger targets in the Indian Premier League. The pitch didn’t slow down, and he didn’t throw his wicket away, as well. 

Smith is a big liability when the ball moves around, and Sammy said the pitch was damp. I wasn’t too confident about him playing Karn Sharma, either. I opted to leave hm out for these reasons, and it didn’t hurt much.

What hurt me big time was the unfortunate run out of Du Plessis. He was the most adept of all the 3 choices, capable of playing spin and pace with equal ease, and that was why he got the nod ahead. Had Du Plessis scored a 50-ball 75, which he was looking good to, the damage would have been limited. 

But then the results are never in your hand when it comes to fantasy cricket. It is done and dusted, and I need to move on. 

Mumbai Indians vs. Delhi Daredevils:

Guru’s team for the MI vs. DD match

Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 9

  1. Dinesh Karthik in – Ravichandran Ashwin out
  2. Rohit Sharma in – Ravindra Jadeja out
  3. Jasprit Bumrah/Karun Nair or Manan Vohra in – Karn Sharma/Akshar Patel out
  4. Captain – Rohit Sharma/Dinesh Karthik

I know Akshar plays the very next match, but Vohra and Nair are much better options on a placid deck and Bumrah, the best uncapped player for this fixture, hasn’t raked in points. 

Lendl Simmons was never in consideration, and, just because he has scored a century, I won’t change my viewpoint. His below-par career record speaks for himself; all it needs is a bit of pressure for him to throw away his wicket.

With Michael Hussey in my team, Rohit Sharma is the only other Mumbai player who will walk in. No. 4 is Rohit’s best slot: it completely negates him from being exposed to his major weakness, which is swing bowling. The Mumbai top 3 hasn’t been that impressive, and 2 of the 3 will be dismissed in time for Rohit to make an impact against a weak Delhi death bowling attack.

Dinesh Karthik, in sublime touch, now seems to consistently come in ahead of JP Duminy, who should return to his role of finisher after failing twice as a No. 4. Not that I support the move, but, going by what the Daredevils think-tank has done so far, it is the most likely outcome. As a result, Duminy may not face enough deliveries, which rules him out. I don’t see Duminy as a wicket-taking bowler, more so for this match. Considering all these, of the two, I get Dinesh in. 

Kevin Pietersen isn’t worth the gamble when the opposition has both a leg-spinner and left-arm spinner. It is well known that his Achilles heel is left-arm spin, and you never know what these leggies can produce on a conducive track. Harbhajan Singh has been in some scintillating touch, too. In addition to all these, he will have to negotiate Praveen Kumar’s swing bowling early in the innings. There are too many barriers from him to overcome. 

Uncapped player pick:

Aditya Tare and Kedar Jadhav bat too low. That leaves us with only one choice in Bumrah, and the fact that he bowls at the death makes him a worthy pick. Siddarth Kaul, if plays, is also worth a shot. I would most probably bring in one of Nair or Vohra keeping in mind the next fixture. It involves quiet a few alterations in the team combination, though. 

Kings XI Punjab vs. Rajasthan Royals:

Guru’s team for the KXIP vs. RR match

Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 7

  1. Glenn Maxwell in – Michael Hussey out
  2. Shane Watson in – Rohit Sharma out
  3. Uncapped player best bet – Vohra/ Nair (based on what you did for the last match) 
  4. Captain – Shane Watson/Glenn Maxwell

The deck at Mohali last time around had nothing on it, so this has to be a high scoring affair. What stands in the way of selecting Glenn Maxwell is the Rajasthan Royals’ leg-spin duo of Rahul Tewatia and Pravin Tambe. It is now pretty clear that Maxwell doesn’t enjoy facing leg-spinners. At the same time, it is too big a risk to leave him out, as well. With Kevon Cooper in, the Royals have strengthened their bowling attack, which adds to the concerns.

At the same time, Shaun Marsh, the alternative, needs everything to be orthodox to succeed; if there is little assistance for the bowlers, he has always looked out of sorts. The Royals bowling attack is anything but orthodox. Considering the risks involved in both the picks, I stick with Maxwell. Sehwag hasn’t convinced me yet. 

Shane Watson should bowl on these decks, and hence it is a no-brainer to have him in. Rahane is at best a 125-point return player. I don’t want to waste a transfer on him at this stage of the game, although I expect him to be amongst points. The primary reason for this being I can’t carry him along till the last match, and he isn’t worth coming in at the cost of two transfers. 

Uncapped player pick preference order: 

1. Karun Nair

2. Manan Vohra

3. Akshar Patel

4. Pravin Tambe

5. Sandeep Sharma

6. Rahul Tewatia

7. Rajat Bhatia 

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