Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 35
Suresh Raina out – Steve Smith in
(uncapped) Gautam Gambhir out – Nitish Rana in
Uncapped preference order: 1. Nitish Rana 2. Rahul Tripathi 3. Krunal Pandya 4. Shardul Thakur 5. Washington Sundar
Captain – Jos Buttler
Mumbai Indians are set to take a six-game break after this home encounter, so there is absolutely no need to bring in any more capped players from their team than I already have. With Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya batting so low, Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan are the only players I am missing out on. I expect the pace duo’s impact to be minimised by the in-form, able Supergiant batting unit.
Rising Pune, on the other hand, play twice in three matches, which makes Steve Smith a no-brainer. As I had predicted in the last Supergiant article, Ben Stokes moving down to No.5 in the batting order has started to take an effect on his fantasy potential. While he might go berserk every once in a while, given his all-round potential, I would like more certainty from my players. As a result, the 25-year-old is ruled out.
Ajinkya Rahane, Imran Tahir and MS Dhoni are all better options than Stokes. While Rahane has scores of 19, 10, 0, 30 and 2 since his 60 against Mumbai in the team’s tournament opener, that should change at some point given his batting position and no-risk playing style; however, with only 5 batsmen allowed, I do not want to block a spot with him.
Dhoni, on the other hand, looked in magical touch against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, but will he able to repeat it against Mumbai and Kolkata Knight Riders – two sides that have more pace in their bowling unit? Bhuvneshwar Kumar may be the best death bowler in the tournament, but the one thing that he doesn’t have is the ability to hit a batsman on the helmet; Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav can all do it and hence will provide a different set of challenge to the former Indian captain.
I don’t have an overseas spot in my team to consider Imran Tahir, but if you do and you are happy with four wickets from two matches, the South African leg-spinner is someone who can do the job. Of the uncapped options available, Nitish Rana appears the best bet, as Rahul Tripathi might struggle to cope up with the Mumbai pace trio and Krunal Pandya can’t be expected to run through a batting order that has Smith, Dhoni and Stokes at 3, 4 and 5.