Time: October 8, 7:30 PM IST

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

Pitch report

The average first and second innings scores at Dubai read 179 and 163 respectively. A target has been chased only once in 9 matches. The fast bowlers have had more success than spinners, given the extra bounce and seam movement the pitch offers.

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Power players

KL Rahul’s 216 of 302 runs have come in Dubai, including a century and a fifty. However, his only low score (21) came during a chase. If Punjab bat second, it is safer to make him your vice-captain. It is a no-brainer if they bat first.

Mayank Agarwal is the aggressor, while Rahul tries to hang around longer. This only scales up Agarwal’s chances of getting out, although he has been in great form. He has smashed 272 runs at a strike rate of 162, which is superior to Rahul’s run-scoring pace.

Hyderabad’s less experienced middle-order seems to have affected David Warner’s approach. He has been on the defensive, trying to put a price on his wicket instead of playing his natural games. That said, his innings have been fetching enough points for the fantasy players. His last four scores read 36, 45, 28, and 60.

It’s not new that Jonny Bairstow blows either hot or cold. There is no middle ground. It is always all or nothing. He has scored two fifties in five games thus far.

Smart picks

From a strike bowler, Rashid Khan has changed (or reduced) his role to a defensive bowler. He may have conceded below 6 RPO, but Hyderabad need more from him. Their bowling is already thin on numbers, and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar ruled out due to injury, they are already staring down the barrel. Rashid needs to look for wickets – the major reason he once was popular in online fantasy games.

For the first time this edition, Mohammad Shami went wicketless. The short-pitch strategy seems to be more and more predictable now. He needs to mix his deliveries in this format of the game. He has taken 8 wickets in 5 matches. The same was the case with his bowling partner Sheldon Cottrell: he had taken 6 matches before going wicketless against Chennai.

Manish Pandey has been a handy player in the world of fantasy cricket, with scores 34, 51, 3, 29, and 30. Him batting at No. 3 makes him a valuable player.

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Probable XIs

Hyderabad: KL Rahul (c), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Jordan/James Neesham, Harpreet Brar/M Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammad Shami, Ravi Bishnoi

Punjab: David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan


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