It’s here. We’re back. The Indian Premier League, in its 2018 avatar, kicks off today at 8pm. Champions Mumbai Indians take on 2-time winners and arch rivals Chennai Super Kings. Here are the top Fantasy tips for the match.
Do also read my previous articles to help with your initial squad formation – For basic principles and guidelines on how to frame your Fantasy squad, do read my first article. For Part 1 of the in-depth team-by-team Fantasy prospects analysis, covering Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, click here. For part 2 covering Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, click here.
Probable Lineups –
Mumbai Indians –
1 Evin Lewis 2 Ishan Kishan (wk) 3 Rohit Sharma (c) 4 Kieron Pollard 5 Suryakumar Yadav 6 Krunal Pandya 7 Hardik Pandya 8 Pat Cummins 9 Mustafizur Rahman 10 Rahul Chahar 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Chennai Super Kings –
1 Shane Watson 2 Murali Vijay 3 Suresh Raina 4 Ambati Rayudu 5 MS Dhoni (c/wk) 6 Kedar Jadhav 7 Ravindra Jadeja 8 Dwayne Bravo 9 Mark Wood 10 Shardul Thakur 11 Imran Tahir
Here is my initial squad for the first match. (*subject to change in case of any surprises in lineups)
Power Player – Suresh Raina (if CSK bat first)/Evin Lewis (if MI bat first)
2nd Innings Power Player – Suresh Raina (if MI bat first)/Evin Lewis (if CSK bat first)
MI vs CSK
For the first match, I have decided to go with 5 players – Suresh Raina, Shane Watson, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Chahar. Given Chennai’s weak bowling lineup, and Wankhede’s reputation of being as flat as a pancake – I’ve gone for both Mumbai openers in Kishan and Lewis. Kishan serves the dual purpose of helping out with squad balance, as well as being a budget enabler.
The option of Rohit Sharma was tempting, but I’ve gone with Raina and Lewis instead. Lewis is cheaper – and is guaranteed to open, which means he’ll face CSK’s new ball bowlers, the weakest link in their side. Rohit could well come in as low as #4. The Mumbai captain also does have a pronounced weakness to leg-spin, something Chennai will definitely look to exploit with Imran Tahir or Karn Sharma.
I’ve gone with Raina over Rohit given how there’s only a 3 game gap between CSK’s first fixture and their next, but 5 for Mumbai – I can get two games out of Raina, but only one from Rohit. Mumbai’s next game is 5 matches later, so it’s imperative to not go too heavy on them.
I’ve picked Watson for a similar reason – I can get two games out of him. Watson has been in some touch both in the BBL and PSL – finishing in the top 5 run scorers in both tournaments. Despite Chennai’s army of part-timers, the burly all-rounder should also get at least an over or two, and he’s often proved the man with the golden arm. With the next CSK fixture only in 3 games time, I can string him along for it.
Chahar is an uncapped enabler picked for budget purposes. If he’s not in the lineup, I will replace him with K Gowtham.
Rest of the Lot
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat and Kuldeep Yadav form the bowling core of my team – players I don’t expect to go in and out of my side a lot, since they help with squad balance and overseas limit. Bhuvi needs no introduction – one of the finest death bowlers, and last season’s Purple Cap. Will be in most teams, so leaving him out is not a risk you want to take.
Unadkat hasn’t been in the best of form, but I expect the 11cr man to bounce back strongly. With Archer and Kulkarni in the side, Unadkat will be kept for the back end of the innings where he shines the most with his cutters. At $850k, he also serves the job of an enabler. RR have 2 fixtures in quick succession, so the Saurashtra pacer will come in handy.
Kuldeep is another player who doesn’t need much introduction. The chinaman has befuddled one and all in the international circuit as well as last IPL. KKR too have 2 fixtures in quick succession, so Kuldeep is an excellent starter pick.
Rishabh Pant and Chris Morris cover me for the Delhi side of things for Match 2 – DD vs KXIP. With no Glenn Maxwell, Pant should bat in the top 3. Captain Gautam Gambhir did also say that he would like to see Pant in the top 3, which means we could see the best of him. Morris is an all-round safe Power Player option, bowls in the death and chips in with the bat.
For KKR’s 2 fixtures in 3 matches – match 3 and match 5, I’ve also picked Lynn. Lynn has had injury problems, but like always, when he’s fit, he’s firing. Lynn has performed exceedingly well in KKR’s practice matches, and is set to open the batting against two weak pace attacks – RCB and CSK. Safe power player/2nd innings power player option for both matches.