Transfers made – 0; Transfers remaining – 50
(uncapped) KC Cariappa out – Nitish Rana in
Uncapped preference order: 1. Krunal Pandya 2. Nitish Rana 3. Ishan Kishan
Captain – Suresh Raina
Jos Buttler and IPL just don’t seem to work, Rohit Sharma looks all at sea while Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina will be facing a top-class bowling attack that could get even better if Lasith Malinga comes back or Mitchell Johnson replaces Tim Southee. Simply put, the batting unit of the stronger team is not in form, and the weaker one has its task cut out against the league's best bowling attack.
So, there are no obvious captaincy choices today. It is also for this exact same reason that I do not want to bring in any more players into my team than I already have. Considering the situation, someone like Krunal Pandya or Dinesh Karthik would make for a very good differential as captain.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lendl Simmons replace Buttler; Mumbai Indians have given a number of chances to the England wicketkeeper-batsman, and 18 innings without a half-century is just poor returns.
Simmons’ recent form, on the other hand, looks no better: He has scored 0, 15, 5, 60, 0, 19, 1, 1, 4* and 1 in his last 10 T20 innings, and has also had injury issues over the last year. While I would have tried the Caribbean right-hander in most situations, this form and the factor that I can’t carry him to his next match makes me stay away from him.
Gujarat Lions finally seem to have seen sense in playing an overseas pacer and were rightly rewarded with their first win of the competition. Shadab Jakati is the only player whose place is under threat, and that Wankhede is Dhawal Kulkarni’s home ground makes him the clear favourite to replace him.
IPL hasn’t seen much of Andrew Tye, and hence his novelty will help him be a threat for a while. With no other death bowler in the side, the Australian is also certain to bowl two overs at the death, most likely over number 18 and 20, which usually increases a bowler’s fantasy potential.
As far as uncapped options are concerned, Krunal Pandya looks a far better bet than Nitish Rana this match, as he bats only one position lower and, with only one left-hander to deal with in the opposition top 5, he should complete his full quota of overs too. I would, however, have to settle for Rana, as my budget doesn’t allow bringing in Krunal.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rising Pune Supergiant
Transfers made – 3; Transfers remaining – 47
Suresh Raina out – Virat Kohli in
Glenn Maxwell out – AB de Villiers in
Jasprit Bumrah out – Kuldeep Yadav in (budget compensation)
(uncapped) Nitish Rana out – Rahul Tripathi in
Uncapped preference order: 1. Rahul Tripathi 2. Iqbal Abdulla 3. Shardul Thakur 4. Rahul Chahar
Captain – Virat Kohli
The deck at Bangalore has played a few tricks in the two matches so far, but it’s largely been poor batting that has resulted in the low totals we have seen. With today being a night game and featuring the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane, expect it to be an easy 170 plays 170.
Kohli and De Villiers are no-brainers. Between Smith and Stokes, the only reason Stokes is in my team is because I have managed to carry him around; if you are looking at just this match, Smith is a more assured pick. I have switched the banker role from Rahane to Manish Pandey, and with RPSG only playing their next after six matches, it doesn’t make much sense going back to him at the moment.
Imran Tahir should be nullified by the RCB top order, and with Tymal Mills not doing as well as he was expected to, it leaves us with Yuzvendra Chahal as the best bowling option. Samuel Badree being an overseas player makes it very difficult to get him in, and that he bowls his 4 overs up front reduces his fantasy potential too. Not every team will bat as badly as the Mumbai Indians did the last game, and Rahane and Smith are good enough to see him off as well.
Chris Gayle’s place is again under threat, with Travis Head and Shane Watson waiting on the bench. For RPSG, Lockie Ferguson could make his way out for Dan Christian, which will give them the much-needed depth in their batting.