Mumbai Indians won’t have it easy when they take on Delhi Capitals in their opening clash of IPL at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
Delhi have had a change of management, name and hopefully fortunes. Perennially languishing at the bottom of the table, Delhi are banking on a rock solid Indian batting line-up and a bevy of top quality bowlers to put an end to their horrid run.
Three-time champions Mumbai will be looking to put their disappointing 2018 campaign behind them and also avoid their habit of starting tournaments on a poor note. Also, they will be without top quick Lasith Malinga and Adam Milne.
IPL’s official partner Dream11 runs a Daily Contest for each game apart from the main format which is per round. With both teams battling their own demons, which players should you picks in your IPL Fantasy Team for this particular match? Here are a few tips.
BATSMAN: ROHIT SHARMA (10.5 credits)
The Mumbai Indians skipper has promised to open the innings in all matches of the 2019 season. Rest assured, the Mumbai star is determined to not only score heavily for his franchise but also get into peak batting form ahead of the World Cup. The pitch in Mumbai should suit him perfectly.
BOWLER: JASPRIT BUMRAH (9.5 cr)
One of the few bowlers in world cricket almost guaranteed to deliver in the T20 format. The 2018/19 season has seen Bumrah rise exponentially as a bowler so he’s almost certain to pick up wickets and maybe bowl a maiden as well for extra fantasy points.
WICKETKEEPER: RISHABH PANT (9.5 cr)
The Delhi lad grabbed headlines in the IPL last year and if he has anywhere near as good a season, he will be worth his weight in fantasy gold. Quick runs and dismissals with the gloves make the southpaw a must-have in most teams.
ALL-ROUNDER: KRUNAL PANDYA (8.5 cr)
The elder Pandya brother is a more reliable T20 bowler in Indian conditions, bowling his full quota more often than not and hitting a few lusty blows down the order. A gun fielder as well, Krunal can do it all on his day.
CAPTAIN: Rohit Sharma.
VICE-CAPTAIN: Jasprit Bumrah.
The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) season is underway and Kolkata Knight Riders take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
As fans, it’s not just watching the action that’s there to look forward to but IPL fantasy games mean you have the opportunity to get involved as well.
As the IPL’s official partner, Dream11 runs a Daily Contest for each game apart from the default format which is conducted per round.
Here, we focus on helping you navigate your way through the former.
Without further adieu, here are our top options in each category for this encounter.
David Warner – SRH (10 credits)
The Australian makes his highly-anticipated comeback to the IPL circuit after missing last season following the ball-tampering scandal. Warner is one of the most explosive openers around and has looked in good nick, cracking a half century during a practice match before the tournament. Sunrisers mentor VVS Laxman recently told reporters: “He has really worked hard on his fitness and also what really amazed me was the kind of rhythm he showed from the first practice session.”
Rashid Khan – SRH (9.5)
Whenever Sunrisers play, Rashid Khan has to be considered among the top fantasy assets. He’s one of the best bowlers in the league and will have fond memories of facing KKR last season. He hit 34 off 10 balls before taking 3-19 against them in Hyderabad to walk away with the Man of the Match award.
Sunil Narine – KKR (10)
The mystery spinner is a legend in the IPL and even though he faces tough opposition in SRH, the fact that he’s playing at home should see him take wickets. The Kolkata pitch has often proved to be conducive to spin and Narine will want to take full advantage. As far as his batting goes, he’s among the best pinch-hitters at the top of the order.
Jonny Bairstow – SRH (8.5)
Not only is he a dangerous batsman who should open the innings alongside Warner, but he will also be keeping wicket for a very good bowling attack and therefore likely to pick up points. Wriddhiman Saha is also an option but Bairstow should take an overseas slot, especially with Kane Williamson being a doubt.
CAPTAIN – Jonny Bairstow
VICE-CAPTAIN – Sunil Narine
The former India spinner picked up early wickets and finished with figures of 3-20 in his four overs as RCB were bowled out for 70 in Chennai with Imran Tahir sweeping the lower order with 3-9.
Despite Shane Watson’s duck, the hosts kept their wits about them and crawled their way to a seven-wicket win with two overs to spare.
Here, we take a closer look at Harbhajan’s display.
Dot balls: 13
In the right conditions, Harbhajan has often been a dangerous weapon in the powerplay overs. Fortunately for CSK, there are few skippers better than MS Dhoni at reading a wicket and perhaps none more capable of getting the best out of the off-spinner.
He tossed Harbhajan the new ball in the second over and it paid off handsomely. The ball wasn’t coming onto the bat and RCB struggled against the turn the 38-year-old was generating.
Not only did he hand Chennai a massive breakthrough with the wicket of Virat Kohli, but he also removed RCB’s remaining main threats in Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers. Tahir also impressed with the ball but it was Harbhajan who set up CSK for the win by tearing through the top order.
Consistency was key in this spell. Granted, he got plenty of help from a turning wicket but he found the right length and hit it perfectly on a regular basis. It was the kind of length that invited a big shot but owing to the turn he generated off the turf, the ball slowed down before reaching the batsman.
Not one, not two but three top batsmen fell victim to the same ploy. Kohli was first to go, mistiming his pull-shot and picking out Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket. Then Ali was deceived and ended up awkwardly spooning the delivery straight back to Harbhajan. Pitching on off stump and spinning away, the ball was far behind the left-hander’s shot.
De Villiers was afforded a warning he failed to heed. Having top-edged a sweep shot only for Tahir to drop him at deep square leg, the South African then tried to heave a pull shot over the ropes the very next ball. He was left reaching for the ball though and didn’t get enough purchase on his effort as Jadeja was the man to gobble up the catch in the deep again.
There’s precious little to fault him for but you could argue that there wasn’t much variation to his bowling. In fairness, the wicket didn’t require him to try to be too clever but on the rare occasion that he over-pitch a delivery, Ali swept him for an emphatic six.
VERDICT – 9/10
The 38-year-old’s inclusion in a side packed with veterans was always going to invite criticism but Harbhajan proved his worth against a fine batting order.