Virat Kohli could probably sympathise with every fantasy league player. He’s not sure about who is going to perform, and there is no single player he can look at and say he’s my first pick. Royal Challengers Bangalore’s two most economical bowlers in their previous match against Mumbai Indians – Tim Southee and Yuzvendra Chahal – went for over 9.5 against Chennai Super Kings. Even the most reliable batsmen in his arsenal – himself included – were all dismissed for single-digit scores. He also cannot risk dropping many of them because of their unpredictability. What combination does he go with – a dilemma shared by many a fantasy league player.
Even after only three wins in nine games, Kohli appears optimistic, perhaps because RCB overcame a bleak win-loss record in 2016 to make it to the final. He will have to sort out the bowling though. RCB have conceded 12.7 runs an over in the death, and now they have started to doze off in the other areas too. RCB were among the best fielding sides two weeks into the season. However, in their last four games, they have dropped eight of 21 attempted catches, which has caused their catch conversion rate to fall from 90% to 61%.
Sunrisers, meanwhile, are comfortably perched on top of the table. They are undisputed masters of defending a total. And in their previous match against Delhi Daredevils, the Sunrisers batsmen pulled off their best chase of the season. Shikhar Dhawan seemed to be finding form, which is good news for them.
This is the first time these two teams will be meeting this season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Siddarth Kaul
Royal Challengers Bangalore 1 Manan Vohra/Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Brendon McCullum 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Colin de Grandhomme, 7 M Ashwin, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Mohammed Siraj
Dhawan has lost his wicket to spinners four times this IPL, and averages only 12 against them. Since 2015, he has been dismissed by legspinners six times in 18 matches, and twice in four matches this season. M Ashwin, who dismissed the in-form Ambati Rayudu and created pressure in the middle overs against CSK, could be used against Dhawan.
Stats that matter
Rashid Khan has arguably been Sunrisers biggest asset. In the seven matches they have won, he has picked up 10 wickets at a barely believable economy-rate of 5.4. He has been especially good in the middle overs, giving away only 130 runs off 120 balls, eight of which resulted in wickets.
Umesh Yadav has played under seven captains, but has been reaching new heights with Virat Kohli, averaging 21.2 and striking every 15.7 balls for RCB. Even when he led the KKR bowling attack for 51 matches, he averaged only 28.4 and struck every 20 balls.
Rashid undoubtedly makes the list. Kane Williamson’s knocks have been resulting in wins, so he could be another pick. Yusuf Pathan has a particularly good record in Hyderabad – an average of 43 and a strike-rate of 141.9 – and his exploits in the previous match makes him a favourite. From the visitors’ unit, Kohli or AB de Villiers would be the safest options.