Kings XI Punjab – Fantasy Factors
Kings XI Punjab may have won their first match, but if they are to do consistently well, they need to push Glenn Maxwell up the order and get Eoin Morgan in ahead of Hashim Amla. A T20 top 3 of Amla, Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha may have worked in IPL 1, but not a decade later when teams are trying out Chris Lynn and Jos Buttler at the top of the order.
For all of Virender Sehwag’s talk about how his team will play his brand of cricket, this is as defensive as anything I have seen. Kings XI will have a very good season in their sights if they can make this adjustment soon, else they are going down faster and harder. Morgan, at the moment, is batting as well as he has ever been – you simply can’t bench him. The other alternative could be Martin Guptill swapping places straight with Amla once he recovers from his injury.
In the current setup, Maxwell is the only KXIP player worth considering for your fantasy team. Amla has been way too unreliable of late for me to waste an overseas spot on him. Stoinis bats too low, and with 4 death bowling options in KXIP, this is Mumbai Indians-Jasprit Bumrah scenario all over again. It is for the exact same reason, I am not willing to bring in Sandeep Sharma too.
Royal Challengers Bangalore – Fantasy Factors
While they may have fluked out against Delhi Daredevils to open their account, Royal Challengers Bangalore are in a real bad shape, with Stuart Binny and Vishnu Vinod batting at No. 5 and 6 respectively. Chris Gayle and Shane Watson’s form makes it even worse. That win at their home, however, will be very crucial as they need to keep their season afloat till Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers come back.
While Kohli might take a while, there are very good chances of De Villiers playing today. If he does, predicting the batting order could get tricky. Either he slots in straight to No.3 or he bats below Mandeep – at No. 4, which could push Kedar Jadhav down the order. There is a whole different possibility that Mandeep could again go back to opening, with AB at 3, Jadhav at 4 and Watson back at 5. You get it, yes, this is a fantasy nightmare. Let’s hope he sits out.
If he does come in, however, it will be at the cost of Billy Stanlake. Gayle needs a couple more failures for RCB to think along the lines of dropping him. One such thing could happen today. The ‘World Boss’ is extremely vulnerable to quality swing and hence it is not surprising that he has a very poor record against Sandeep Sharma, getting out to him 3 times in IPL and scoring at the rate of only 1.2 runs per ball. Stoinis, T Natarajan and Mohit Sharma form a decent support act.
Yuzvendra Chahal may not have got the number of wickets you would ideally want from your bowler, but with the way he has been bowling, a 3-wicket haul is never far away. The batting unit that KXIP have got, today could very well be that day.
Transfers made – 1 (2); Transfers remaining – 67 (66)
Chris Lynn out – Glenn Maxwell in
(uncapped) Krunal Pandya out – Manan Vohra in
Uncapped player order: M Vohra, T Natarajan, I Abdulla, V Vinod
Captain – AB de Villiers (if he plays)/ Kedar Jadhav (if he doesn’t)
There are only 5 capped players you need to consider for this match – Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Glenn Maxwell, Ab de Villiers and Shane Watson. I already have Chahal and Jadhav. Of the remaining 3, I would go for Maxwell definitely. And AB, if he plays.
Watson back opening the innings creates another twist, as even a bad day for him could give him 50 points, which is sometimes the best you can get when a bowler has a very good day. But if AB comes back too, how many overseas players will you take in? I will wait to see how this plays out, take a hit if need be, and then plan accordingly. If Watson doesn’t get lucky with his bowling, I should be alright.