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59 Matches, 7 Centuries, 13 Four-wicket hauls, 6 weeks and it all comes down to Sunday – RCB v SRH. In a country that spans more than 3 million square kilometres, our two IPL Finalists are cities that are less than 600km apart. Gujarat topped the league table and almost booked their spot in the final twice – each time they were thwarted, first by ABdV (with Abdulla) and then by Warner (with Bipul Sharma). Sunday is really the IPL’s last chance saloon – for either Kohli or Warner to lift the trophy, for Hooda and Baby to prove themselves and for you….to surge ahead and get to the top of the 2016 IPL Fantasy Cricket League!
The Teams: The strongest batting team meets the best bowling line-up. RCB and SRH have been terrific in this year’s IPL. Each Kohli and Warner have each led from the front – they are this year’s Top 2 run scorers with 919 and 779 runs respectively. The top 3 wicket takers too – each with 20+ scalps – are also from these 2 sides. We are set up for a cracker on Sunday at the Chinnaswamy, the home of 5 individual centuries this season. Both sides will be pleased with themselves – SRH won their qualifier even in Mustafizur’s absence, and RCB won their qualifier even though Kohli had a rare failure.
The Venue: The Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. The perfect venue for a final, Bangalore’s flat pitches and small boundaries promise a high-scoring final. 8 of the 12 highest scores (all above 189) have come at this ground.
Our picks for your fantasy team – as an IPL Final Special, we have picked 5 players today!
Virat Kohli – Can you blame us for choosing him? Anyone who has voluntarily leaves Virat out will end up regretting it. Barring his rare, unexpected failure in the qualifier, Virat has had the best individual batting season in the history of the IPL. 919 runs at an average above 80 an strike rate above 150, Captain Kohli has led his team to the finals and will be itching to score the 81 runs on Sunday to get him to the magical 1000 runs in one IPL season. Don’t expect him to stop there!
David Warner – Just like his RCB counterpart, Warner has been a real rockstar for Hyderabad – he single-handedly won Qualifier 2 for them despite no other SRH batsman performing on the night. While Warner may have missed out on a century this season, statistics don’t paint the full picture – he has 3 scores of 90+ in winning causes, including 2 not-outs. He will be fired up to deliver on the big stage.
Yuzvendra Chahal – Among the top 10 bowlers, Chahal has played the fewest matches – he was selected for only 12 of RCB’s 15 games so far. That hasn’t stopped him from picking up 20 wickets this year, including two 3-wicket hauls and a 4-wicket haul to boot. Kohli relies heavily on Chahal to deliver critical breakthroughs. If SRH get off to a start against the weak-ish RCB seam attack, Kohli will immediately look to break the David-Dhawan opening combination with Chahal’s crafty leg-spin.
Barinder Sran – This 23-year old quick could have easily been over-shadowed by the likes of Nehra, Mustafizur, Bhuvi, Moises and Cutting, yet he has stood out this IPL season. Sran has picked up 13 wickets at 8 runs an over, including a stunning 3-wicket haul against the Mumbai Indians and will be looking to get back into the Indian national side
Chris Gayle – You might be tempted to write Gayle off given that his average this season has been 16.77 with just one half-century. Do so at your own risk! Gayle is a player who relishes the big occasion. He is the only player to have ever made 700+ runs in 2 separate seasons, and has hit 243 sixes in all IPLs; that’s nearly 50% more than the next most sixes hit. And we all know Bangalore loves a good Gaylestorm!
Thank you once again for following our blog during this year’s IPL – we will be continue to blog even after the IPL carnival is over. Stay tuned for more fun! We are always happy to hear feedback so drop us a line using the contact page.
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)