Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 30
Virat Kohli out – Chris Morris in
(uncapped) Aniket Choudhary out – Shreyas Iyer in
Captain – Chris Morris
A lot of what happens in the encounter between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils will depend on the latter’s bowling attack. If they stick to the bowling line-up they played against Mumbai Indians and field Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins again, Kolkata Knight Riders are going to be in a lot of trouble.
However, there is a chance that Cummins could get dropped for Sam Billings considering their indifferent batting performances this season.
I am hoping for a Rabada-Cummins repeat, as that was what forced me to keep Robin Uthappa out of my playing XI ahead of the last Knight Riders match. Knight Riders, on the other hand, should bring back Nathan Coulter-Nile, but what’s more important from the fantasy point of view is the player who is going to get the drop to accommodate the Australian pacer – Colin de Grandhomme or Darren Bravo?
In the likely scenario of Bravo being given another chance, it could severely hit Manish Pandey’s fantasy potential, as if the last match is anything to go by, the Indian batsman could be pushed down to No. 5. The axing of Suryakumar Yadav also hints at the possibility of Bravo being a long-term decision; Piyush Chawla has been an important member of the Knight Riders unit over the last couple of years and could easily hold on to his place, thereby strengthening both the departments.
Either way, as long as there are two specialist overseas pacers in the Daredevils XI, I have no plans of bringing back any of the Knight Riders batsmen. Make no mistake, a bowling attack of Rabada, Cummins, Amit Mishra, Chris Morris and Zaheer Khan is like no other you have seen in the history of the league; it has some serious pace, spin, death bowling skills, and experience.
There is a reason why Mumbai Indians were kept down to 142 at their home, and they needed plenty of luck to even reach that mark.
With Manish Pandey, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav already in my team, the only other player that I am looking for from this match is Morris. While all the overseas pacers involved in the match look value, to get them in, I will have to get rid of the RCB players – and with their next match against Rising Pune Supergiant, a bowling attack that would make Gujarat Lions bowlers look good, it is something that I am not interested in.
Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Transfers made - 2; Transfers remaining – 28
Manish Pandey out – David Warner in
Sunil Narine out – Axar Patel in
(uncapped) Shreyas Iyer out – Manan Vohra in
Uncapped player order: 1. Manan Vohra 2. KC Cariappa 3. Siddarth Kaul 4. Mohammed Siraj 5. Deepak Hooda
Captain – David Warner
There are a couple of straightforward picks for this match, and both are from Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It is true that Warner hasn’t looked at his best this season, but that he has still got 4 40+ scores in 7 matches tells you why it is not worth gambling on keeping him out, that too against a side like Kings XI Punjab, which does not have the bowling firepower.
Moises Henriques seems to have brought the 2015 season form with him, but if he bats any lower than No.4, you may not want to get him in. So, watch out for the news on Yuvraj Singh; if he is back fit, the Australian all-rounder will again be pushed down the order. There is an outside chance of Kane Williamson getting dropped, which could play a key role, too, in helping you decide on this.
The Sunrisers are using Rashid Khan in an aggressive way, bowling a lot of his overs up front. It is not something that is ideal for his fantasy owners, as the opposition batsmen will opt to see him off than taking needless risks. As a result, I have chosen to leave him out.
Shaun Marsh at No.3 has made sure that the highest Glenn Maxwell can come in is at No.4, which is a fantasy downer against a quality bowling side like Sunrisers. It also results in Hashim Amla becoming the team’s best bet, but for my team, it is a direct shootout between him and Warner. I side with the latter because he faces a much easier bowling attack and hence becomes a captaincy material.
Purely as a result of the lack of options, Kings XI are being forced to bowl Axar's full quota every match; add to it his batting, you get some very easy points. This is starting to become an obvious pattern, and continuing to leave him out wouldn’t be wise. I also see being able to get a minimum of 2 matches from him.
Kings XI are finally starting to find their best XI, with Marcus Stonis’ spot being the only question mark. Darren Sammy has joined the team, and with him being a like-for-like replacement, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a game straight away.