Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Gujarat Lions
Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 69
Tymal Mills out – Rashid Khan in
Thangarasu Natarajan out – Shikhar Dhawan in
(uncapped) Aditya Tare out – Deepak Hooda in
Captain – David Warner
With Mustafizur Rahman still not available for selection, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have absolutely no reason to change their playing XI. The debatable picks – Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting, and Rashid Khan – all did more than enough to justify their spot. The Lions, on the other hand, showed why I said they are a bottom 4 team this year. The best they could do is drop one of their overseas bats – most likely, James Roy – for James Faulkner/Andrew Tye, which is not going to have much of an impact, either.
As mentioned in the previous Lions’ article, their overseas bats are extremely vulnerable to quality spin bowling, which was proved by Kuldeep Yadav at Rajkot. It could have been worse had they held on to one of the many chances that Raina offered and Sunil Narine been his usual self.
Sunrisers have an equally capable bowling attack to exploit this weakness. If Rashid Khan gets his length right today, the game could be over very soon for the Suresh Raina-led side. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s new ball skill will be a threat, too. Add Ashish Nehra, Bipul Sharma, Moises Henriques and Ben Cutting to it, you will have as good a support cast as you can ask for.
Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques and Yuvraj Singh – all looked in good touch in the match against RCB, but you can’t bring them all, can you? Henriques is a no-brainer if he is one of the five main bowling options, but by the looks of it, he clearly isn’t.
With Rohit Sharma struggling for form, Robin Uthappa’s demotion, Ambati Rayudu’s injury and the unavailability of Indian batsmen like Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli, Dhawan and Yuvraj come back into contention. Between the two, Dhawan is both cheaper and bats higher up the order, so I have decided to go with him. This match, in particular, could give massive returns, given how badly the Lions bowled against KKR.
Rashid Khan’s leg-spin could be too much to handle for the Lions, and therefore I bring him in as well. The only Lions’ player who is worth picking is Suresh Raina, but I can’t carry him to his next game and he wasn’t exactly at ease against the Knight Riders either.
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 68
David Warner out – Chris Lynn in
(uncapped) Deepak Hooda out – Krunal Pandya in
Captain – Chris Lynn
MI – Fantasy Factors
Lasith Malinga has joined the squad and should walk into the playing XI in place of Tim Southee. Mumbai Indians, for a change, saw Harbhajan Singh on merit and decided to drop him, but that they lost the match can result in him coming back into the side. Ambati Rayudu’s injury further improves the chances of it happening, with him becoming a straight swap.
Rohit Sharma is neither opening nor looking comfortable at the crease, so he can wait. Malinga coming back would mean Mumbai will now have 3 death bowling options in Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan and the Slinga himself, which could affect all their fantasy potential, as either the wickets will be shared or any one of the three could have a great day and it could become impossible to predict. I am keeping all of them out.
This leaves me with Jos Buttler. On any other day I would have brought him in, as the England wicket-keeper batsman did look a lot better than he has in the past few months; however, today he may have to face the spin trio of Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla, of which two are wrist spinners – an overseas batsman’s worst nightmare. And Gautam Gambhir knows this.
KKR – Fantasy Factors
Coming to the Knight Riders unit, the Chris Lynn opening move will affect everyone in the middle order. Uthappa no more has the big-hitting gears he once had, having got used to the comfort of opening the innings for years now. Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan could often exchange spots. Suryakumar Yadav is, as usual, being wasted down the order.
So the choice narrows down to Lynn and Gambhir. Gambhir usually struggles against pace dominated bowling units, and Mumbai is one. Lynn, on the other hand, is one of the only few batsmen who can claim credit to taking down Perth Scorchers, one of the world's best T20 teams, at The Furnace.
If you have followed the Scorchers, you would know that they field an insanely good pace bowling unit year after year and are supported by their home deck that generates good pace and bounce. Wankhede is an easier deck and has shorter boundaries than the WACA. The only difference here is both Bumrah and Malinga are capable of bowling special deliveries, but that is not something you can base a selection on.
Trent Boult, Chris Woakes and Narine – all looked mediocre. Since I already have Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla is not someone I would need.