IPL 2018 Fantasy Guru: What your team should look like for SRH vs RR
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Prediction - Mid-table finish
X-Factor – Alex Hales
Most runs – Shikhar Dhawan
Most wickets – Bhuvneshwar Kumar
New kid on the block: ‘Big’ Billy Stanlake
Fantasy player preference order: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson (if he opens), Alex Hales, Manish Pandey
Sunrisers Hyderabad might have just shot themselves in the foot by making Kane Williamson their captain, as it will now force them to play him all season. Williamson’s best position in T20s is right at the very top of the batting order, but to do that they will have to sacrifice Alex Hales, who is, by the way, as good a replacement as they could have got for David Warner. From the reports that I read, it is not going to happen.
A top three of Shikhar Dhawan, Hales and Williamson pushes Manish Pandey down from his best position as well. And it is followed by Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda and Shakib Al Hasan, all of whom are more at home against spin than pace, which is the exact opposite role requirement of batsmen playing 5-7. Then there is Wriddhiman Saha, who is a complete misfit in T20s anywhere except as an opener.
This is not a situation they find themselves in for the first time in their short history. They have been here before. And they have tried Williamson at 3, only to eventually realize it fails more often than it succeeds. They also lack someone down the order who can hit pacers out of the attack.
Coming to the fantasy side of things, I wouldn’t be surprised to see if this turns out to be Dhawan’s best IPL season. While he has almost always been amongst the runs, those runs haven't come at a good strike-rate, but, of late, he seems to have understood that, and in an attempt to rectify the issue, has started attacking more.
Season influencer: Sunrisers have plenty of options in Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan and Yusuf Pathan to target slow bowlers. Instead of reserving them for the death, where they could turn out to be ineffective, they should be sent out between overs 7-16 with a specific instruction to go on an all-out attack against the spinners. It is a high-risk game, but losing out on Warner and not buying any pace power-hitters gives them no option but to try something out of the box.
Playing XI: S Dhawan, A Hales, K Williamson, M Pandey, Y Pathan/D Hooda, S Al Hasan, W Saha, R Khan, B Kumar, S Sharma, S Kaul
Prediction: Top 3 finish (subject to Jofra’s availability)
X-Factor – Jofra Archer
Most runs – Ajinkya Rahane
Most wickets – Jaydev Unadkat
New kid on the block - Krishnappa Gowtham
Fantasy player preference order: Ben Stokes, Ajinkya Rahane, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat
Rajasthan Royals face an issue very similar to that of the Sunrisers: how they accommodate D’Arcy Short in a line-up that already has two openers and Sanju Samson. The good thing, however, is they have a solution for it, which is just rope Heinrich Klaasen straight in, slot him in the middle order and leave the opening combination untouched.
Whichever way that goes, their season this year will come down to the performance of one player: Jofra Archer. On potential, he is as good as any limited-overs pace bowler in the world. If he can bring that to the field, then there is nothing that can stop the Royals this season.
Playing XI: A Rahane, R Tripathi, S Samson, B Stokes, J Buttler, K Gowtham, J Archer (when available)/B Laughlin, S Gopal/S Binny, J Unadkat, D Kulkarni, D Short/H Klaasen
Subs used – 2; Subs remaining -71
V Kohli out – A Rahane in
C Morris out – B Stokes in
(Uncapped) N Rana out – D Hooda in
Captain – S Dhawan
Uncapped player preference order: R Tripathi, S Kaul, K Gowtham, D Hooda
Guru’s team ahead of SRH vs RR: C Lynn, E Lewis, A Rahane, S Dhawan, L Rahul, D Hooda, K Gowtham, B Stokes, K Yadav, M Markande, B Kumar