The Big Ben Potential
Ben Stokes has become the talk of the town after his unbeaten match-winning hundred against Gujarat Lions the other night, so before we go into today’s match, here is something that could help you regarding all-rounders. I have taken Stokes and Chris Morris to explain the two different types of all-rounders and how their fantasy potential can vary.
Morris is what you call a bowling all-rounder, and his batting position doesn’t really matter. All he needs to do is send down his full quota of overs in a match for you to get the minimum guarantee you are looking for. Stokes, on the other hand, needs to bat in the top 4 to give you returns consistently, as his primary skill is batting.
This is why, despite carrying Stokes around for the first five matches, I was quick to drop him once Rising Pune Supergiant showed signs of promoting MS Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary. However, against Lions, the early fall of wickets meant the 25-year-old was forced to come in earlier than he would have.
You would ideally expect the RPSG top 5 to finish off a 160-run chase, but the first three wickets fell so soon that Stokes had to come in even ahead of Dhoni. Once that happened, there was very little that could have been done to stop him from doing what he did.
Fortunately not many had the England international in their team for the match, so missing out on him would have hardly cost you anything. But after a knock like that, he is sure to become a fantasy favourite, and the team management would be looking to promote him back up the order as well. Leaving him out now would be silly.
KKR vs RPSG – Fantasy Factors
Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 13
David Warner out – Robin Uthappa in
Kagiso Rabada out – Ben Stokes in
(uncapped) Mohammed Siraj out – Rahul Tripathi in
Captain – Robin Uthappa
With Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Rahul Tripathi already in, I use the same logic I have always used with spinners against Kolkata Knight Riders to keep Imran Tahir out: you can trust the KKR batsmen to see slow bowlers off, especially at Eden Gardens.
From the Knight Riders, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa and Nathan Coulter-Nile all look good. However, since they take a 4-game break after this match, I have limited myself to picking just one of the four players in consideration here. For obvious reasons, it will be Uthappa. Tahir is the 31-year-old’s only threat, and if he doesn’t lose his wicket against the leg-spinner, with the kind of form he is in, this could turn out to be something very special.
Of the remaining three, you can leave Coulter-Nile out based on the bowlers-theory that I had discussed in the last article. There are no real issues for Gambhir and Narine, though. An early couple of wickets could result in Manish Pandey turning out to be a great differential as well.