A red-hot Chris Gayle has sent Kings XI Punjab skyrocketing-towards the top of the standings as the in-form team of the competition continues to impress. On the other end of the spectrum, the Delhi Daredevils are once again looking at another dismal performance in the IPL as they currently sit bottom on the points table with plenty of work to do.
A team that has been renowned for underwhelming-finishes in the franchise for quite some time now, it appears the Delhi Daredevils are making very-little progress to build a winning team capable of competing for the IPL title. Their past five seasons in the competition are a reflection of the Daredevils current culture, not really looking like a threat with very-little expectations of featuring in the 2018 IPL playoffs which is of great concern to everyone involved. Once again, there’s been little to cheer about in the 11th edition of the IPL for the Daredevils who’ve managed just one win from their five completed games, they’re a team who are yet to fully-click as a unit as they continue to rely on individual brilliance. Teams in the IPL who have had a vast-majority of contributors are currently placed at the top of the table, Delhi’s toxic ‘one-man show’ theory has been about as successful as Australia’s attempt to ball tamper, relying on a small number of players to fire is a recipe for disaster no matter how talented the individual is. I strongly believe that the Daredevils were crossing their fingers that one of Colin Munro or Jason Roy would dominate as the star overseas recruits at the top of the order, unfortunately that’s somewhat-failed which has exposed the rest of the team significantly. England’s Jason Roy’s made a dream-debut for Delhi scoring an epic 91 not out, his next two innings however have been fairly-forgettable. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been Delhi’s one shining light in a time of darkness, posting 223 runs from his five innings averaging 44.60. Recruited to lead the side & bring a winning culture to Delhi, Gautam Gambhir has also struggled in his past three matches which isn’t a great sign, although their young stars with the bat are starting to show some promise as the tournament progresses. It’s about time they make some tough calls in their team selection; Colin Munro must be a chance to come back while Amit Mishra’s absence in the side is hurting them severely as the wickets have dried up almost all together, Delhi is not a team who can afford to play an unchanged line-up every game.
From what we’ve seen so far from the Delhi Daredevils in IPL 11, Kings XI Punjab could set some records tomorrow night if the hosts dish up yet another deplorable effort. It’s not looking good for Punjab regardless of how well they perform, particularly with the ball given the Super Kings, Sunrisers and Knight Riders have all failed to dismiss Punjab’s most destructive batsman before the damage has been done. Chris Gayle’s ability to dominate some of the best bowlers the IPL has to offer in 2018 is simply-stunning, all you can do is sit back and marvel at one of the world’s best T20 batsmen single-handedly destroy a bowling unit in a matter of overs. Gayle’s statistics in IPL 11 so far are ridiculous; his three games in the tournament have resulted in 229 runs being scored, averaging a mind-blowing 229 and striking at 170.89 with a high score of 104 not out, it’s hard not to talk about someone as prolific as Chris Gayle! You’d think he’s due for a bad game at some stage, but with scores of 63, 104* & 62*, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Not to be discounted as Gayle’s opening partner, KL Rahul’s return to the IPL has been a success with the 26-year-old averaging 42.60 from his five games, he’s another danger man Punjab have to watch out for. How is this team going to be challenged with an opening combination at the peak of its powers, not to mention the middle order featuring the in-form Karun Nair, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh who are all damaging ball-strikers with plenty of experience to back it up. Aussie seamer Andrew Tye is doing a magnificent job in the bowling department at the moment, he’s probably been their most impressive wicket-taking option bagging six wickets in his past three matches for Kings XI. The side will be hoping for more of a contribution from their skipper Ravi Ashwin who despite leading Punjab successfully 22 matches into the tournament probably need him producing at least two wickets a game from this point on.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Delhi Daredevils | 22nd match | Delhi
- Rishabh Pant
- Glenn Maxwell
- Trent Boult
- Rahul Tewatia
- Colin Munro
Wildcard pick – Amit Mishra
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kings XI Punjab | 22nd match | Delhi
- Chris Gayle
- Karun Nair
- Andrew Tye
- KL Rahul
- Ravi Ashwin
Wildcard pick – Aaron Finch
A fourth-loss in the tournament already should see the Daredevils make some changes, especially given the fact that they’re playing the red-hot Kings XI Punjab. Despite his exceptional start to the tournament against Mumbai, opening batsman Jason Roy could be axed from the side after scoring just six runs in his past two innings for Delhi. Bringing back Colin Munro would be a smart move, the Kiwi destroyer has been arguably the best T20 International batsmen going around in 2017-18. It might finally be time to pull the plug on Shahbaz Nadeem who started well, but gradually faded out of the game with some average bowling stints. That might finally see veteran-leggy Amit Mishra return to the XI, he has 134 career IPL wickets to his name and is one of the best impact bowlers going around. Proteas all-rounder Chris Morris could also make way for Aussie all-rounder Dan Christian depending on how they plan on utilizing them in the bowling attack against Punjab.
Kings XI Punjab
As predicted, Ankit Rajpoot replaced Mohit Sharma in Punjab’s last match against the Knight Riders where he was relatively-expensive, that could mean that Mohit comes straight back in despite his wayward form with the ball as well albeit still taking wickets. With Axar Patel currently unavailable for selection due to injury, the Kings XI will continue to play Afghani-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman which will likely continue to keep out David Miller and Marcus Stoinis for the time being.
Delhi Daredevils (possible) – 1. Colin Munro 2. Gautam Gambhir © 3. Shreyas Iyer 4. Rishabh Pant (wk) 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Rahul Tewatia 7. Chris Morris/Dan Christian 8. Vijay Shankar 9. Amit Mishra 10. Harshal Patel/Mohammed Shami/Avesh Khan 11. Trent Boult.
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul (wk) 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Karun Nair 5. Aaron Finch 6. Yuvraj Singh 7. Ravi Ashwin © 8. Andrew Tye 9. Barinder Sran 10. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 11. Ankit Rajpoot/Mohit Sharma.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.