Note: It is not yet clear whether there is one lock-in time for the two matches today or two separate ones. The rules section of the daily fantasy competition indicates that you can have only one team for doubleheaders, while there are confusing signals from the official Twitter handle. So, verify it and plan accordingly.
Kings XI Punjab:
- Murali Vijay will miss the entire IPL due to wrist and shoulder injuries. Martin Guptill is likely to be available for selection only after the first two weeks
Predicted Playing XI
Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell, Wriddhiman Saha, Eoin Morgan, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, GS Mann, Axar Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma/Varun Aaron, T Natarajan
If KXIP haven’t already decided on it, they will have by now after looking at Jos Buttler and Chris Lynn: don’t be surprised to see Maxwell walk out to open. The Big Show opened for the first time in his international career last September, against Sri Lanka, and the move immediately worked wonders, with him scoring 145* and 66 in the two-match T20I series.
Miller and Morgan’s recent form and T20 reputation could easily get them into the team ahead of their other overseas players. The remaining one spot could be a shoot-out between Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Darren Sammy. Stoinis’ last year exploits and all-round potential gives him the edge.
Anureet Singh and Varun Aaron are decent pace bowling backups to have. There is a good chance that Aaron could start ahead of Mohit given how desperate KXIP were to get him in the auction. Mohit’s recent form doesn’t help his case either. Anureet, however, will be the least preferred option of all the 5 domestic pacers that Kings XI.
KC Carippa and Rahul Tewatia will compete for the GS Mann spot in the team.
Pune’s only hope of stopping Maxwell would be their leg-spinners, Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa. Wrist spin is one of Maxwell’s biggest weaknesses.
The highest Miller could bat is at No.5, which rules him out, while Morgan is less attractive in a match that has Maxwell, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, and Ajinkya Rahane.
If Thangarasu Natarajan can match his potential, his death bowling abilities could turn out to be an absolute asset for Kings XI this season. The left-arm angle, the slower ones that rip off the surface and the searing yorker – he has got it all. The 25-year-old was exceptional in the inaugural edition of the TNPL and then went on to back that up with a solid Ranji season, not for nothing is he being referred to as Tamil Nadu’s Fizz in local circles.
Capable of bowling both with the new and old ball, Sandeep Sharma is usually one of the most reliable options in IPL. If KXIP can put scores on the board, expect him to get a lot of wickets this IPL.
Tournament call: With most of their overseas batsmen in the best touch they have ever been, their season hangs on how well KXIP’s pacers fare.
What they lack:
- The stability that Murali Vijay could have offered up top.
- With Axar Patel’s bowling on the decline, a quality spinning option.
- An overseas T20 pacer.
The season-influencer: Maxwell opening the innings can not only get the best out of him but out of Miller and Morgan as well. They will have more time at the crease to have an impact.
KXIP v RPSG – Fantasy Notes
Player Preference Order: S Smith, A Rahane, B Stokes, G Maxwell, I Tahir, E Morgan
Uncapped player pick: T Natarajan (1), Rajat Bhatia (2), Mayank Agarwal (3), Manan Vohra (4)
Be it playing two overseas wrist spinners or Stokes at No.4, RPSG were refreshingly positive in their first match and have in turn improved the fantasy potential of all the players involved – Rahane, Smith, Stokes, Tahir and Zampa.
While Tahir did do well against Mumbai Indians, if I bring him now, I can’t carry him to his next match. I have opted to risk leaving him out. Smith, on the other hand, can’t be messed with when he is batting at No.3 – I will take a transfer hit and get him in.
- Shreyas Iyer will be missing the few matches due to chickenpox. Angelo Mathews hasn’t yet recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained in South Africa earlier this year. Ben Hilfenhaus will be replacing JP Duminy, who ruled himself out from this year’s IPL for personal reasons.
- Quinton de Kock will not be available for the entire season as well. Rishabh Pant may be given a couple of matches off, too, after the unfortunate news of his dad passing away earlier this week.
Predicted Playing XI:
- Sam Billings, Aditya Tare/Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Corey Anderson/Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Morris, Jayant Yadav/Ankit Bawne, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Zaheer Khan, Kagiso Rabada/Pat Cummins
While Rabada is definitely a better T20 bowling bowler, Cummins’ big-hitting ability evens up things between the two. Playing them together would have been an option with a full strength squad, but with the continuing rise in the number of injuries to their batsmen, they might want to have the batting cushion that Corey Anderson and Carlos Brathwaite can offer.
Delhi have plenty of bowling backups in the form of Murugan Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Chama Milind - all proven performers at the domestic level. It is the batting that looks weak.
Sam Billings is all but sure to open the innings in the absence of De Kock, Iyer, and quite possibly Pant as well. The England wicket-keeper batsman is amongst the better overseas players of spin bowling and is quite innovative with his array of sweeps and reverse-sweeps. The only skill he lacks is power-hitting against pacers, but you wouldn’t need that when you are opening the inning.
It would be criminal to go into a Daredevils match without Morris at the moment, as he is their first choice death bowler and, with their batting very weak, could get a decent amount of time at the crease as well.
As far as Mishra is concerned, leg-spinners always get wickets. Nair is the next best and only other option worth considering for your fantasy team – at No.3, he could help himself to easy 40s and 50s and turn out to be an excellent budget pick.
Tournament call: Billings and Morris have to be at their absolute best to even think of a top 4 finish.
What they lack: Batsmen. Batsmen. Batsmen.
The season-influencer: Billings at the top needs to play the anchor role. And a more flexible usage of Morris the batsman.
RCB vs DD – Fantasy Notes
Player Preference Order: Chris Morris, Sam Billings, Chris Gayle, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shane Watson, Tymal Mills, Karun Nair
Uncapped player pick: Mandeep Singh, Abhishek Choudhary
AB de Villiers is a doubtful starter again, thanks to his back trouble. If he plays, get him in - as simple as that.
Gayle is a gamble worth taking at Chinnaswamy; however, if the Daredevils play both Cummins and Rabada don't even think about it. Shane Watson looked down on fitness last match, mediocre with the ball, and is batting lower down the order too – which is the main reason behind me taking him out of my team. I can wait till he shows something positive to bring him back.
Chahal looked as good as he has ever been, while Mills could have done a lot better. Jadhav keeping wickets and batting at No.4 makes him a top class budget option this year.