Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 39
Andrew Tye out – Brendon McCullum in
(uncapped) Shikhar Dhawan out – Basil Thampi in
Uncapped preference order: 1. Manan Vohra 2. Basil Thampi 3. Ishan Kishan
Captain – Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum is just not getting out. He is surviving spinners, surviving decks, surviving whatever it is that is being thrown at him. Not just that, he is smoking them around as well. This is the best I have seen him bat, and I am not taking the risk of leaving him out, even if it is only for this one match.
That he is being sensible against spinners, instead of just trying to slog them out of the park every ball, has had a significant impact on his game this season. If the 35-year-old gets off again, on a deck as good as Rajkot and against a bowling attack as bad as Kings XI’s, the damage could be irreparable at this point of the tournament. Get him in. Captain him.
Extra Cover: IPL 2017: Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab, Face Off
Aaron Finch, after his promotion up the order, can turn out to be a good differential; however, with the Lions having a short break after today, he doesn't appeal to me as a one-match pick, more so when I am already spending a sub on McCullum.
I have managed to carry Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik around for three matches now. While Karthik is going out after this match and never ever coming back into any of my fantasy teams, Raina has turned out to be a bit on and off. Despite his knock against KKR, you can still risk keeping him out given how inconsistent he has been in the IPL in the last few years – this is also why I have chosen to captain McCullum and not Raina.
From Kings XI Punjab, Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell – all could be amongst the runs, but since the team plays its next game only after a gap of 6 matches, the longest tournament break there is, I don’t see any point in getting any of them in.
Of the three, Maxwell is the one who can cause the maximum damage. Let's just hope his entry is delayed; there are good chances of it happening if Manan Vohra plays, as that could see Marsh being pushed down to No. 3, which will, in turn, result in No. 4 being the highest position that Maxwell could bat.
None of the capped bowlers from either side has done enough to merit a place. Manan Vohra would be the best uncapped pick for the match, but my squad balance only allows me to get Basil Thampi in.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Transfers made – 3; Transfers remaining – 36
Dinesh Karthik out – Virat Kohli in
Brendon McCullum out – AB de Villiers in
Andrew Tye out – Yuzvendra Chahal in
Basil Thampi out – Rahul Tripathi in (combination sub)
Captain – Virat Kohli
RCB – Fantasy Factors
Shane Watson and Adam Milne could be making their way out for the returning AB de Villiers and Samuel Badree. Despite playing a useful hand in their win against the Gujarat Lions, Travis Head may lose his spot, too, as the Royal Challengers Bangalore are badly in need of a dependable pace bowler at the death. Tymal Mills, back fit now, should be the one to take that place.
As far as fantasy picks are concerned, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are self-explanatory. With the Royal Challengers Bangalore playing a total of four times in the next eight matches, I bring in Yuzvendra Chahal as well. Badree and Mills could turn out to be quite handy, but that their spots in the team are not guaranteed is the only reason I do not want to gamble on them.
Jadhav’s time at the crease could get reduced with Kohli and AB de Villiers batting above him, which rules him out as well. Chris Gayle is a notable omission, but be it today or in their next match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are pretty good options to have against him. The 37-year-old will not be fed with slow left-arm spin to help himself with free runs, as it happened against the Lions.
KKR – Fantasy Factors
Coming to the Kolkata Knight Riders, I already have Gautam Gambhir and Kuldeep Yadav. I was expecting Manish Pandey to move up the order after Chris Lynn’s injury and the kind of knocks he has played so far, but with that not happening, I don't see him being worth it, especially when you can only have a total of five batsmen in your team.
Robin Uthappa is worth a shot if Badree doesn’t play. If he does, handling Badree, Chahal and Mills could turn out to be a little too much for him when batting at No.3. Kohli and De Villiers would nullify Narine’s bowling, which could result in him just contributing with the bat – not good enough.
Coulter-Nile and Umesh would keep giving you steady returns, but nothing you would regret missing out on. Trent Boult might come back in for Chris Woakes, as he would be seen as an option to stop the star-studded RCB top order. There are no attractive uncapped picks here, so it would make sense to get someone in from the Mumbai-Pune match.