So, we are now into the business end of the IPL 2016, with Gujarat Lions emerging as the table toppers, followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore. Even the most optimistic RCB fans would not have expected their team to qualify for the Top 4 position, forget to be in top two. But as things turned out, Virat Kohli, almost single-handedly, has led his side into Top two.
Both, RCB & Gujarat Lions, can have two go to the finals, if needed. With the sort of batting power RCB has, it is almost certain that they will make it to the finals, with two consecutive batting failures being very unlikely. Their bowling has shown signs of improvement as well.
The match between RCB and Gujarat Lions will see the former as the favourites, given the batting depth. Gujarat’s batting boasts a heavy top-order, with almost nothing in the middle. The only positive aspect being that Suresh Raina has shown signs of his IPL form, something which is the highlight of his resume.
The sort of form Virat is in, he could have chased down Vijaya Mallya, had the Indian government requested him to. Plus, Gujarat Lions lack a lethal pacer to trouble the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and co. All in all, it would be a surprise to me if Gujarat Lions wins this match.
Since the match is being played at Chinnaswamy stadium, there’s no need to add that the match will see a bucket full of runs. So, the strategy should be to cover as many batsmen as one can, given the bowlers will go for plenty for sure. More the batsman you have, you are more likely to score more.
So, it’s better to go with a combination of 1 wicket-keeper batsman, 5 batsmen, 1-2 all-rounders and 3-4 bowlers. Just because, there are some quality all-rounders in both the sides, I am personally attracted to having 2 all-rounders.
There should be no doubt that Virat Kohli should be your batting captain . The kind of form he is in, one shouldn’t even think of not having him as the captain. Chris Gayle’s record at Chinnaswamy and his few innings leading to the Top 4, makes him an obvious pick, along with AB deVilliers.
Dwayne Smith hasn’t been in the best of form with the bat in the previous few innings, but he has contributed with the ball, something which even Raina won’t back on him on this track and the kind of opposition. McCullum has been more cold than hot this season. Suresh Raina has been good in the previous few matches, and Aaron Finch has been the most consistent Gujarat Lions batsman so far. So, my pick from the Gujarat Lions squad are Aaron Finch and Suresh Raina.
Among wicket-keepers, Dinesh Karthik is a better bet than K Rahul. The obvious reason being the fact that on this track, RCB’s top 3 can be expected to face the major chunk of the deliveries, which may not be the case with Gujarat Lions. In some leagues, AB deVilliers is included under the wicket-keeper bracket, in that case, I don’t think that I need to mention whom you should pick.
Among the all-rounder, spinners might not have a big role to play, especially finger spinners. So, Dwayne Bravo and Shane Watson are the best bet. The fact that they both bowl in the slog overs, they are highly likely to pick wickets then.
Among the bowlers, Chahal continues to impress one and all, on a track where other spinners have struggled. Chris Jordan has shown signs of improvement and thus I will prefer him over others, just for the fact that he will bowl towards the death as well. We got to pick one among, Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar. Praveen Kumar is a better option, though going with the former is also not a bad choice.
With two sides filled with some T20 batting giants, it was always going to be tough to pick your fantasy teams. You got to be lucky to get it right, no matter the amount of thinking you have put behind putting your XI.
You might pick a different XI, but for this track do keep in mind to pick that batsman who are likely to face more deliveries, and the bowlers who are likely to bowl in the death.
Best of luck !!
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