Deadline: April 12, 7:30 PM IST
Punjab have disclosed that KL Rahul will play the role of an aggressor this season. We saw him holding one end up and then going bonkers in the death overs. That fetched him 670 runs, the most in the previous edition, but a strike rate of 129 saw Punjab collect fewer runs than they should have.
Rajasthan too have a similar plan in place for the powerplay, but who they will employ for the job is a question only time can tell. Keep an eye on Ben Stokes’ batting position while making fantasy teams. He opened the innings in the previous season.
Rajasthan: Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson (c), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi
Punjab: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Shahrukh Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Jhye Richardson, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi/M Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
There’s a lot of firepower in both line-ups. Jos Butler averages 41 as an opener in the Indian T20 League, and has been in a splendid form of late: his top scores read 83* and 52 in the T20I series against India. On the other hand, Mayank Agarwal surprised one and all with his strokeplay, carving out 424 runs at an impressive strike rate of 157 last season.
Sanju Samson and Chris Gayle will play at No. 3 for their respective teams. On their day, they can smash any bowling attack to a pulp. On other days, they struggle with consistency.
The problem, however, for both teams will be their inexperienced middle-order. Shahrukh Khan has been brilliant in domestic cricket and will undoubtedly make his debut, while Shivam Dube blows hot and cold. Come to think of it, both teams don’t have a dedicated finisher and thus the onus will be on the top-order.
Rajasthan spent the most money in the auction, and the bulk of it was showered on Chris Morris. He can send the ball into the orbit with his power-hitting, and was effective in the powerplay as well as at the death for Bangalore in the previous edition.
Punjab don’t have the luxury of a top-class all-rounder, but they have a better pace attack. The addition of Jhye Richardson was a smart move. He was the highest wicket-taker in the Australian T20 League, scalping 29 wickets at an average of 16.3. Partnering him in the pace department will be Mohammad Shami, who managed 20 wickets in 14 matches in the UAE.
The pitch at the Wankhede stadium had something for everyone. The red-soil wicket produced lateral movement as well as spin. The result, nonetheless, will depend on the toss. Dew makes matters worse in the second innings, and a target of 200 seems gettable.