The final four IPL league games are here and soon all the qualification scenarios will become clear. After 4 weeks, 52 games, four centuries from Virat Kohli, never-ending injuries to RPS players, and lots more highs and lows, it really all comes down to this. We begin with Super Saturday: RPS v KXIP and GL v MI.
Match Tip #53: RPS v KXIP
The teams: Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kings XI Punjab (RPS V KXIP). The most anti-climactic start to this big weekend, these are unfortunately the only two teams with no chance of a playoff spot. That said, both are tied at the bottom with 8 points, which means the loser ends in last (8th) place, so there is something to play for. Plus of course all points are equal when it comes to fantasy league cricket! RPS will have a slight edge, having just beaten the strong Delhi Daredevils, while KXIP suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Kohli who seems truly unstoppable this season. Captain MSD will want to prove he still has something to bring to the table.
The Venue: Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakapatnam. After a high scoring game, the most recent game was rain curtailed and saw both sides batting at just about 6 runs/over. Expect some help for the quick bowlers.
Our picks for your fantasy team
Ashok Dinda – After not making the cut for RPS’s first 5 games, Dinda has played 8 games in a row and it’s hard to see how RPS did without him. He has quickly picked up 10 wickets – second only to Adam Zampa – at an economy rate of 7.81, which is lower than his previous seasons. He will be feeling the wind in his sails after picking up 3/20 v DD along with the Man of the Match award.
Adam Zampa – This Aussie leg spinner is one for the future. He is already picking up bags of wickets with his big spinning legbreaks and well-disguised googlies and his dismissal of Sanju Samson in the last game reminded us of the days of Shane Warne’s domination.Dhoni will rely on Zampa to pick up wickets as well as kept the run rate in check. Given the form he is in, it’s too much of a risk leaving him out of your fantasy cricket side!
Sandeep Sharma – 1 Maiden, 14 wickets and an Economy Rate of 7.32. Sandeep has clearly been a bright spot in an otherwise miserable season for Preity Zinta’s team. He consistently bowls tidy overs, and has the knack of picking up key wickets in the early overs. Rahane & Co. will be wary of the two Sharmas opening the KXIP bowling.
Match Tip #54: GL v MI
The teams: Gujarat Lions v Mumbai Indians (GL v MI). Things start to get interesting in the second game of the day. After a big win against KKR, GL are now comfortably in second place with 16 points; however even that may not be enough this season if it comes down to net run rate. A GL win would see them through to the playoffs; while a loss to MI would leave them relying on other results to go their way. For MI, this is a must-win game – mathematically, there is a minuscule chance of MI qualifying even with a loss against GL, but Rohit and his boys will not want things to go that far.
The Venue: Green Park, Kanpur. The IPL’s first game here came with a surprising amount of grass on the pitch, leading to help for the seamers and a low-scoring game. Dwayne Smith bowled a brilliant spell picking up 4-8 in his 4 overs, so both sides may look to strengthen their seam bowling.
Our picks for your fantasy team
Dwayne Bravo – Though he has been quiet this season compared to his accomplishments at CSK, Bravo the ‘champion’ can never be taken lightly. He is still GL’s leading wicket taker, with 13 wickets, and will enjoy bowling on a seaming wicket. His ability to pick up some handy runs with the bat too make him a safe Fantasy League pick.
Rohit Sharma – In a must win game, you need your biggest names to step up and deliver. Rohit’s season started strong; he has picked up 459 runs at an average of over 45, but he has averaged only 23 in the last 3 games which MI will be nervous about. He has an uncanny ability to perform when it matters most, so MI will expect some Rohit fireworks to propel them into a playoff spot.
Shadab Jakati – Only selected for 4 of GL’s first 13 games so far, Jakati has delivered an economical performance each time he came on to bowl. Conceding only 7.35 runs/over in his 14 overs so far this year, he picked up a tidy 1-22 against KKR that was overshadowed by Dwayne Smith’s 4 wickets. Jakati could prove tough to pick up for MI’s right-hander heavy batting lineup.
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)