Yet another weekend and the Vivo IPL 2016 rumbles on with RCB v GL and KKR v RPS on Saturday. We have almost reached the end of the league stage and now every match will crucial for the teams that are looking to make the play-offs. If you have made it this far you’re certainly a fantasy cricket fan!
Match tip #44: RCB v GL
The teams: RCB will be hurting after their loss in their last last game to MI. With DD winning their last game against SRH to move into the top four, RCB’s chances of qualification got a lot slimmer and their task got a lot harder. Captain Kohli will be disappointed with his batting lineup failing in the last game and will be taking a long hard look at his team before the game against GL. He will want to ensure that RCB get the right combination for the final push and it will be interesting to see whether Chris Gayle will get another game. Gayle’s form, in all honesty, has been dire and he has not made it into double figures in seven innings since his ton against England in the WT20 (scores of 4, 5, 4, 1, 0, 7 and 5). GL, on the other hand, led by Suresh Raina are in second position on the points table and will be eager to move one step closer to cementing their spot in the playoffs with a win against RCB on Saturday.
The venue: M Chinnaswamy Swami Stadium in Bangalore. This is RCB’s home ground so one expects a massive crowd to turn out to support the home team on Saturday. With small boundaries, a fast outfield and a flat wicket, expect the captain the wins the toss to bowl first. The biggest total can be chased here with ease – RCB will be hoping that their batting line-up can fire them to another win at the Chinnaswamy.
Our picks for your fantasy team
AB de Villiers: One of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and a darling of the RCB crowd, ABdV is unstoppable when he gets going (as Dale Steyn found out twice). He has had a good, but not spectacular, tournament so he will be looking to leave his mark. He bats in the RCB top three so should have plenty of overs to unleash the carnage that he’s capable of.
Dwayne Smith: Dwayne Smith can bat , he can bowl and man, he can field. A great pick from a fantasy perspective – make sure you have this West Indian powerhouse in your team!
Sachin Baby: Named after the great man himself, our *wildcard* pick Sachin Baby’s superior fitness gave him the edge over the more talented Sarfaraz Khan. He has done well in the last couple of games with 33 and 25* and Baby will be looking to make this opportunity count. Hit them Baby one more time!
Match tip #45: KKR v RPS
The teams: KKR have gone about their campaign this IPL in a workmanlike manner, showcasing the consistency that is their hallmark. Despite a five wicket loss to GL, KKR are still hovering around the top 4. RPS, on the other hand, will be wondering where it all went so wrong. They failed to chase a sub-140 score in their last game against SRH and with 8 losses from 11 games, RPS no longer have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs- a scenario which would have been unthinkable for MSD in his CSK days. Will RPS play for pride or will they test their bench strength?
The Venue: Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The surface is slow and the spinners can expect to find some joy. KKR has won 2 and lost 2 games here this season.
Our picks for your fantasy team
Yusuf Pathan: With two undefeated 60 plus scores in the last three games, the elder of the Pathan half-brothers is striking some ominous form for KKR. Brutal yet effective, his power hitting could land you at the top of your fantasy cricket league. Any wickets from him will be a bonus.
Adam Zampa: No one could have predicted his 6-19 in his last game against SRH. But it would be foolish to leave him out in this game. Lightning does strike twice!
Ishwar Pandey: A regular in the CSK line-up and someone who has taken a lot of wickets for Dhoni in the past, it is a wonder he has sat out every game of the 2016 IPL.With RPS already out of contention for a play-off spot, it might just be time to give Ishwar Pandey a game.
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)