IPL Fantasy Guru: Ring in the changes (Updated)
While the last couple of days weren’t bad, I didn’t quite get the break I was looking for as well; as a result, my team will again through a mini makeover. Leaving it too late never helps, so it is crucial that you get a lead over your competitors as early as possible so that they panic and make more mistakes.
I will have to sacrifice a couple of my players as against my initial plan of carrying them through till their second game, but I strongly believe that this is the right way to go.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab
Transfers made – 0; Transfers remaining – 20
Pawan Negi out – Sandeep Sharma in
There are couple of reasons why I didn't pick Andre Russell against the Delhi Daredevils:
- The Kolkata Knight Riders had 5 proper bowlers with the inclusion of Sunil Narine, so I didn’t think Gautam Gambhir would use Russell much with the ball. And the Daredevils leg-spinners had it in them to get rid of him early as I had said in my previous article.
- If the Knight Riders bowl first today, the Caribbean big-hitter may not get to bat – which nullifies the double game advantage. The Kings XI Punjab bowlers have been exceptional at the death; therefore, the chances of him failing are quite high if he comes in late.
But as it turned out against the Daredevils, he bowled four impressive overs and was unlucky to not get more wickets. Irrespective of whether the Knight Riders bat first or bowl first, I wouldn’t pick him today. This is a huge gamble I have taken, and I hope I get away with it once more.
With Brad Hogg, Piyush Chawla and Robin Uthappa already in my team, I don’t see the need for any other player in this match. Hogg was well set to grab at least a 3-for against the Daredevils, but one bad over, turned things upside down. Angelo Mathews’s exceptional batting skills against spin didn’t help either, which forced Gambhir to take the 43-year-old out of the attack. There are, however, no such issues today.
Sandeep Sharma would be my uncapped player pick for this match. One of KC Cariappa or Kuldeep Yadav may get a chance, as Sunil Narine and Johan Botha weren’t that effective with the ball against the Daredevils, and are quite capable of making it big too.
Delhi Daredevils vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 18
Brad Hogg out – JP Duminy in
Piyush Chawla out – Bhuvneshwar Kumar in
Suresh Raina out – Yuzvendra Chahal in
This would be the first match that will be played at Raipur this season. David Warner has scored fifties in both the IPL matches played here before while representing the Daredevils in 2013, which indicates how good a batting deck this is. With the Australian big hitter already in my team, the only other batsman I will be getting in for this match is JP Duminy.
Eoin Morgan scored a spectacular half-century in his last match, but the Royals have one of the worst bowling attacks this season, which you should take into account as well. So, I will need to see more of him to take him into my side.
Death bowlers are among the safest options around when it comes to fantasy cricket, and hence Bhuvneshwar Kumar returns to my team. He will be my captaincy choice for this match too. I usually prefer Warner, but he plays an insanely high-risk game. JP Duminy, on the other hand, would be up against the best new ball bowling attack in the competition, so there is a possibility of him being dismissed early.
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Transfers made – 3; Transfers remaining – 15
Dwayne Bravo out – AB de Villiers in
JP Duminy out – Virat Kohli in
Robin Uthappa out – Mitchell Starc in
Sandeep Sharma out – Anureet Singh in
I used my Russell sub on Harbhajan Singh. While I hope he picks up a couple of wickets today, I wouldn’t advise you to take him in. The main reason I picked him was the Chennai deck, but he wasn’t able to make use of it.
With Rohit Sharma in, the Mumbai side of it is pretty much settled. While it is true that Rohit hasn’t been giving great returns of late, his promotion to No.3 following the axing of Unmukt Chand may just do the trick. Ambati Rayudu appears to have regained his form, but there is always a doubt hanging over his batting position, so picking him is not worth it at this point.
Chris Gayle stays out. Harbhajan wouldn’t let him score even if he escapes the Mumbai new ball bowlers. Rohit, however, should make sure Vinay Kumar stays as far away from Gayle as possible.
Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Mitchell Starc – I would get all of them back into my team. If Gayle falls early, it would give plenty of batting time to both De Villiers and Kohli, which can come in handy. Starc would be my captain for this match.
Hardik Pandya’s cameo didn’t surprise me as I knew he had it in him, but Starc is a different level altogether. Yuzvendra Chahal would be my uncapped player pick for this match. Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan may not get enough deliveries to do anything of note.
Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals
Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 13
Rohit Sharma out – Suresh Raina in
Harbhajan Singh out – Dwayne Bravo in
Yuzvendra Chahal out – Pawan Negi in
Rajasthan Royals generally don’t fare very well on slow decks. Ajinkya Rahane should get off to a quick start, but I don’t see him lasting long. Watson on this pitch is never a good idea. Steve Smith is their best bet, but in a game that will be dominated by the bowlers, I don’t see a role for him.
Dwayne Bravo looks unplayable at the death in Chepauk and Suresh Raina could cash in on the weak bowling attack of the opposition, which makes it compulsory to have both of them in. While Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to be the game-breaker again, I would captain Bravo for the second consecutive time. Pawan Negi would obviously be my uncapped player pick for this match.
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kings XI Punjab:
Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 12
Ravichandran Ashwin out - Sandeep Sharma in
Dwayne Bravo out – Glenn Maxwell in (only if the Sunrisers don’t change their bowling attack to include Trent Boult or Dale Steyn)
Glenn Maxwell wouldn’t find a better bowling unit to cash in on his form if the Sunrisers continue to keep both Trent Boult and Dale Steyn out. Without an overseas pace bowler, the Sunrisers are pretty much a one man army with just Bhuvneshwar Kumar carrying them.
While it is true that Maxwell doesn't play leg-spinners well, Karn Sharma is someone who doesn’t spin the ball much, so that shouldn’t be much of an issue. What also makes him unavoidable is that Kings XI play thrice in a span of six matches. That’s immense value for a transfer if he comes off. However, given his nature of play, I would never captain him.
The deck normally has a lot of runs on it, and therefore, David Warner would be my captaincy pick for the match. I don't see Moises Henriques as someone who is worthy of a spot for a just a single match. Also, he doesn't play spin all that well; you may have seen that in the manner he was dismissed against the Super Kings and Royals. So, he will stay out. However, if you can carry him over to his next match, consider bringing him in.