IPL 2014: Fantasy Guru - Pitches dictate the game; plan your substitutions accordingly
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: Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings and Kings X1 Punjab.
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 Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Manan Vohra, Sandeep Sharma, Karn Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin 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.
I need to make one thing clear first of all: whatever I write is based on the nature of the pitch in the last 3 seasons, and, if it isn't the same, you need to alter it accordingly and not take this as a guideline to play the blame game.
I thought it was self-explanatory.
Coming back to the game, I had a different route in mind, as the pitch at Kolkata was expected to assist the spinners. The curator, for some bizarre reason, had left a lot of grass on the pitch, and that necessitated a change in strategy: Robin Uthappa made his way into my team, in addition to Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina.
I was not sure of what to make of the grass cover. But, having been a Kolkata Knight Riders fan for the last 3 years (not any more), I was quite confident that it was to make sure that the cracks do not have an impact; hence, it had to be a good batting pitch more than a seaming one.
There were risks involved in all 3 of them; but then I realised I have a healthy substitute reserve, and therefore it won't be a bad option to gamble on double-game players. Also, on a good batting pitch, both my trump cards Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja would return nothing.
It was important to capitalise on that fixture, and so I did. Therefore, David Miller, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers all were chucked out. In order to make sure that I don’t run out of substitutions or have something in excesss, I did a mock-transfer for all the upcoming games. It looks fine; in fact, despite making all the changes I want to, I will end with one transfer leftover.
Kings X1 Punjab vs. Mumbai Indians:
Transfers remaining – 15; Transfers made – 1
Suresh Raina out – Michael Hussey in
Manish Pandey out – Akshar Patel in
With Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell already in my team, the other players who warrant inclusions are a back-in-form Michael Hussey and David Miller. Michael looked in some fine touch in his last match, and, if he escapes one of those jaffas from Sandeep Sharma he is likely to get in the Powerplay overs, he looks good for a half-century at 130 SR.
In the matches I have seen, Beuran Hendricks, the Mitchell Johnson-replacement, hasn't really looked threatening. So, all that stands in the way of Michael succeeding on a good batting deck is Sandeep.
With one of the tightest techniques in world cricket at his peak, I put my trust on the Australian stalwart to get past the testing period and include him in the team. Also, his next match is against Delhi Daredevils, till which I carry him along. So, he gives me 2 games at the cost of a transfer.
Lendl Simmons' career T20 strike-rate – 110.44 - is an indicative of the type of player he is. In addition to it, he needs to be extremely fortunate to get past the opening spell, and, even if he does, he would have consumed too many deliveries for what I call as an impact performance, a 125-pointer.
Kieron Pollard bats too low, and Ambati Rayudu, although stands a fine chance to make it count if he comes in after the first 5 overs, isn’t worth a transfer at this stage of the game. In the couple of matches I have seen him play, Krishmar Santokie didn’t impress me. With Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha expected to receive little assistance from the deck, they don’t make it to the contention list, too.
So, that completes the Mumbai side of it.
As regards to Kings XI, Maxwell has been falling short of late, and there is a disturbing pattern that has been emerging: him getting outfoxed by leg-spinners. Although Mumbai Indians have Shreyas Gopal, it would be silly to expect a rookie to nail Maxwell on a placid strip.
There were quite a few reasons why I had the Miller-cover in for the last match.
- If Maxwell gets out to Imran Tahir, it would all come down to Miller to take Punjab home. It was perfectly set up only for him to get out to JP Duminy, dismissals that you don’t see happening. Duminy had taken only one wicket in IPL 2014 prior to that match.
- Manan Vohra is likely to reduce to his impact, yes. But the type of game the Punjab top 3 play – out-and-out attack - a No. 4 will always have a say on the match.
- Delhi Daredevils, batting first or chasing first, looked good to score 180+. They were well set to go beyond that, only to choke eventually.
The inclusion of Miller in this match depends on one factor: Mumbai playing Praveen Kumar or Marchant de Lange. If Mumbai get Praveen back in, the assistance that he gets off the deck will be too hot to handle for the Punjab top 3, which will leave it to the South African finisher to do the repair work.
Uncapped player pick:
With Sandeep Sharma and Manan Vohra already in my team, there is not much of a choice between Akshar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishi Dhawan. Rishi Dhawan is less likely of the 3 to complete his quota of 4 overs.