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IPL Fantasy Guru: The unpredictable nature of decks makes fantasy picks tricky

6.03K   //    04 May 2015, 13:52 IST
Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to cause havoc against RCB at the Chepauk later today

When a team drops someone like Imran Tahir citing the deck as the reason, you should know that there will hardly be any assistance for spinners on it. Since this move of Delhi reduced the number of frontline spinners in their side to one and there was grass on the deck that can assist Shane Watson’s style of bowling, I captained him in yesterday’s second match as against what I had said in my previous article. At the end of the day, it didn’t prove to be a big difference, but I would take 220 points for my captain any day of the week.

Sometimes you need to react based on the deck and team combinations. Do not go with the same team if the factors that I mention for a player’s omission or inclusion are missing, like it has happened in the cases of Robin Uthappa and Watson so far. 

Note: Picks for CSK vs RCB and KKR vs SRH matches are based on the decks at Chepauk and Eden Gardens being slow and low. If they change the deck again, none of the tips below would help. The only way to predict it is listening to what the captains say at the toss. The team combinations would give you a clue too: if SRH add an extra spinner or RCB bring back Iqbal Abdulla, it is a clear indication of what they expect from the deck. 

Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 34

Ajinkya Rahane out– Ravichandran Ashwin in

Shane Watson out – AB de Villiers in

Sanju Samson out – Pawan Negi in

Captaincy pick – Ashwin/Chahal/Kohli 

Guru’s team for the CSK vs RCB match 

Get in as many spinners as you can for this match. They have more potential than, say, an AB de Villiers or a Brendon McCullum to score points. I already have Yuzvendra Chahal. If Ravichandran Ashwin plays, he would obviously walk in. Pawan Negi slots in as the uncapped player. Iqbal Abdulla is equally good, but there is only so much you can do. Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina don’t look in great touch, so they can be left out. 

Even for a batsman of de Villiers’s class, a run-a-ball 50 would be an achievement here. It would not be easy for him to make an impact today, but since I can carry him till his next match (which is against KXIP where he can go berserk), I draft him in now. Chris Gayle won’t be missed even if Ashwin doesn’t play.  

While I have McCullum in my team, I don’t see how he can score today. Dwayne Bravo can be amongst the points; however, I will have to transfer him out immediately, which is not worth it. I am perfectly okay with losing out on 100 points. It’s when he starts contributing with the bat, the problem begins. 

Don’t be fooled by Mandeep Singh’s knock against the Kolkata Knight Riders. He isn’t doing that at Chepauk. 

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 

Transfers made – 2 (3); Transfers remaining – 32 (31)

Ravichandran Ashwin out  – Bhuvneshwar Kumar in 

Brendon McCullum out – Brad Hogg in 

Mitchell Starc out – Andre Russell in (only if KKR bat first or if it is a flat deck)

Ronit More out – Shreyas Iyer in 

Captaincy pick – Hogg

KKR vs SRH if KKR bat first 

Brad Hogg would be my first pick for the match. I didn’t see Andre Russell’s promotion coming in the match against Chennai Super Kings, which is why I had kept him out. But if they are going to play him consistently at No.4, ignoring him would be foolish. 

I would, however, pick Russell only if the Knight Riders bat first. If they bowl first, I am prepared to take the risk of keeping him out again. If you get rid of David Warner early, which can actually happen on this deck, the Sunrisers can be bowled out for nothing much on the scoreboard. Russell’s services, therefore, won’t be required with the bat. KKR would be happy to let the likes of Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav spend some time at the crease. He could pick up a couple of wickets, yes, but I can take that for a transfer. 

The Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling unit is pace-heavy. Karn Sharma, their only spinner, is not someone who can really make use of this surface. He is more of a restrictive line bowler. This makes Robin Uthappa a good choice too. Sunrisers’ best bet is Parvez Rasool, but he would only be turning the ball in to Uthappa, which is not such a big threat. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowls a couple of overs at the death match in, match out, and he has been doing it extremely well too. When I can make him play two games, it makes sense getting in him. He would be my only Sunrisers player for this match.

I guess this is the first time I am keeping Warner out of my team in this tournament, but handling Hogg and Piyush Chawla should be too hot for him. And Gautam Gambhir knows it very well. Expect spin to be introduced early. If KKR bring in an additional spinner, which I expect them to, it would only make scoring even more difficult for the Australian big-hitter.

However, if you hear anything close to the pitch being flat, Russell and Warner should be your first two picks irrespective of who bats first. 

Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils

Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 31 (30) 

Pawan Negi out  – Rohit Sharma in 

Harshal Patel out – Sandeep Sharma in 

Captaincy pick – JP Duminy

MI vs DD

With JP Duminy already in my team, the two other capped players who are worth considering for this fixture are Lendl Simmons and Rohit Sharma. Rohit hasn’t been converting his starts in the last couple of innings. His demotion to No.4 has reduced his fantasy potential, but Wankhede is flat and Mumbai Indians would need him to handle the opposition spin duo. There are no better Indian options as well.

I tried out my combinations by bringing in Lendl Simmons, but it leads to too many transfers being wasted. For a player who wouldn’t hurt you big time even if you leave him out, it seems unnecessary. Simmons has this habit of throwing away his wickets after scoring 30s and 40s. I hope he does it again. In his next fixture, which is against the Super Kings, the Chepauk deck would make sure he doesn’t do anything of note. 

Imran Tahir shouldn’t pick any wickets here if the batsmen don’t gift them. Duminy would be my captain for this match. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab

Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 29 (28) 

JP Duminy out  – Chris Gayle in 

Andre Russell out – Mitchell Starc in 

Shreyas Iyer out – Mandeep Singh in 

Captaincy pick – Starc (if RCB bowl first)/ Kohli or De Villiers (If RCB bat first)


The biggest question as far as this fixture is concerned is will Sandeep Sharma get Chris Gayle? Because if he doesn’t, Kings XI are as good as done and so are the fantasy managers who decide to go in without him. 

The deck at Bangalore supports quality swing bowling, and Sandeep is probably India’s second-best swing bowler at the moment, only next to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. If he bowls close to 10-15 balls to Gayle, he should win the contest. And Gayle knows it too, which is the issue, as he will play the 21-year-old out. 

What makes me most worried about leaving Gayle out is that unlike Simmons or Bravo, the damage that Gayle can do to your fantasy teams is irreparable at this stage with not many games left to launch a comeback. I would lose more by leaving him out than by bringing him in.

AB de Villiers and Mitchell Starc make their way back into the team. If Kohli can see off Sandeep, he should be amongs the runs as well. I would stick to my no Kings XI Punjab players policy. 

Mandeep Singh would be my uncapped player pick for this match. 

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