Match 44 – Kings XI Punjab V Kolkata Knight Riders
Nobody would’ve predicted this, two teams that were almost certainties to make the IPL playoffs appear to be desperate for a win in what has been a difficult past couple of weeks. More so the Kolkata Knight Riders, they find themselves outside the top four having lost their past two matches to Mumbai who’ve coincidently stolen fourth spot from them. Both sides have won just two of their past five games and appear to be very close to breaking point, this result will have a significant effect on the standings as well as both teams playoffs aspirations.
Plenty has been said about Ravi Ashwin’s output as both a captain and player this season, while he’s got his team to third position on the standings his individual efforts with the ball just haven’t been good enough. It’s been pointed out that 17-year-old Afghani spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman has actually outperformed the Kings XI skipper in IPL 11, and the stats don’t lie. Mujeeb has bowled a total of 234 deliveries in the tournament for a total of 14 wickets, whereas Ashwin has actually bowled an extra six deliveries (240 balls) but managed just the six wickets. To put it bluntly, Ashwin has been an easy proposition to see off this season compared to Mujeeb who’s taken the aggressive approach, and to his credit it’s paid off. That’s just one minor problem Kings XI are facing, the biggest of them being their ‘out of sorts’ batting line-up. KL Rahul’s form has been exceptional throughout the tournament while boom-recruit Chris Gayle found himself in a huge purple patch for approximately three weeks, apart from that they’ve been a pretty mediocre batting group. If we go back to when Yuvraj Singh’s dismal-run with the bat came to an end after seven games, closely followed by Aaron Finch who was axed after scoring just 24 runs from six matches you’d just about say Punjab’s opening pair have held them for a vast majority of the tournament. They’ve finally had enough of Mayank Agarwal’s constant failures up the order as well, resulting in a new-look batting order that didn’t show a lot against Rajasthan either. To sum things up, Rahul’s past two scores of 84* & 95* accompanied by Andrew Tye’s superior-consistency with the ball says a lot about them, Kings XI need more contributors if they are to pose any real threat come playoffs.
The Knight Riders are just about on the verge of falling off a cliff if they can’t pull it together soon, they’ve lost their past two matches in what could be described as a ‘frustrating’ IPL 11 campaign to date. At their best, they’ve been a flamboyant outfit producing some of the most entertaining batting knocks this season, but at their worst Kolkata struggle to beat anyone with a real unappealing brand of cricket. It’s hard to predict where the Knight Riders will finish in 2018; it could be anywhere from elevating themselves into the top four sealing a playoffs birth, or continuing to fluctuate like they have been and ending somewhere near the bottom of the standings. To put it simply, Kolkata are not a team you can rely on regardless of who they’re playing. If they were to get a consistent-Andre Russell hammering quick-fire 40+ scores each game, there’s no doubt in my mind that Kolkata would be a top two team, unfortunately that’s all rhetorical given his form with the bat tends to dip a lot more than rise. I was praising the strength of their batting order a couple weeks ago, now it seems a few cracks are starting to form which would explain their position. Uthappa, Rana and Karthik are all relatively consistent batsmen, their problems run deeper than that though with the game-breakers such as Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine with the ball not firing on all cylinders at the moment. If those three guys start delivering, it’s party time for Kolkata! Their bowling attack is a real concern as well, it always has been ever since IPL 11 kicked off back in April. The team appears to be unbalanced, a classy batting line-up that’s not performing to its full potential paired with a one-man (Sunil Narine) bowling attack.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kings XI Punjab | 44th match | Indore
- KL Rahul
- Andrew Tye
- Karun Nair
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman
- Chris Gayle
Wildcard pick – Yuvraj Singh
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kolkata Knight Riders | 44th match | Indore
- Sunil Narine
- Nitish Rana
- Dinesh Karthik
- Chris Lynn
- Tom Curran
Wildcard pick – Robin Uthappa
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul (wk) 2. Chris Gayle 3. Yuvraj Singh 4. Karun Nair 5. Marcus Stoinis/David Miller/Aaron Finch 6. Manoj Tiwary 7. Axar Patel 8. Ravi Ashwin © 9. Andrew Tye 10. Mohit Sharma 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Sunil Narine 2. Chris Lynn 3. Robin Uthappa 4. Nitish Rana 5. Andre Russell/Cameron Delport 6. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 7. Rinku Singh/Shubman Gill 8. Tom Curran 9. Piyush Chawla 10. Kuldeep Yadav 11. Prasidh Krishna/Shivam Mavi/Vinay Kumar.
Match 45 – Delhi Daredevils V Royal Challengers Bangalore
The two-bottom teams of the competition will face off tomorrow night in hope of a miraculous winning-streak to boost them up the standings before they completely throw in the towel. Results would have to go their way though, and relying on the rest of the competition to fall in your favour is probably the least of their worries, both the Daredevils and Royal Challengers just haven’t been able to win this season. It’s a real shame, it was expected that Delhi would make a big move in 2018 after recruiting the likes of Gambhir, Maxwell, Munro & Roy, instead they’re looking up at the league-leaders from below.
Where to next for the Delhi Daredevils? This will be their sixth-consecutive season where they’ve missed out on the playoffs, a huge dry spell in anyone’s books. For all it’s worth, Daredevils coach Rick Ponting might just have to tap fellow-Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell on the back and put him out of his misery, this has easily been his most disappointing year in the franchise since joining where he’s averaging just 14.20 for the tournament (5.50 in his last four matches). On a positive note, Rishabh Pant’s bat is smoking & just about ready to catch fire at the moment after some entertaining spectacles at the crease, the most-impressive of them coming on Thursday night where he lit up Feroz Shah Kotla Ground with a career-best 128 not out in one of the best innings of IPL 11. Compared to Maxwell’s 5.50, Pant is averaging 98 in his past four games contributing to his already-impressive 521-run tournament. Both Pant and Iyer have done a great job for Delhi in yet another gloomy-campaign, but the pair has remained optimistic which has been reflective on the scoreboard. It’s probably been mentioned over a thousand times already, but their overseas players (particularly with the bat) have let them down immensely in 2018, all three of Glenn Maxwell, Colin Munro and Jason Roy haven’t really been mentioned in the headlines other than being out of form which just about sums the trio up. Star Black Caps quick Trent Boult is really starting to show some fatigue while Liam Plunkett has managed just one wicket in his past five outings with the ball. This team had so much potential, but instead they’ve fallen well-short of what is required to challenge the best in the competition.
Virat Kohli would just about be on the verge of pulling his hair out 45 games into the tournament, it’s just been that type of year for the Royal Challengers in 2018. They were almost instantaneously-slapped in the face when they finally decided to swap Quinton de Kock for Parthiv Patel, because the 33-year-old veteran wicketkeeper-batsman delivered a fifty in his first appearance of IPL 11 which could have allowed for that extra-overseas specialist batsman/all-rounder for the entire tournament. I wouldn’t say it was a mistake signing Quinton de Kock, but in hindsight they would have been a much stronger team had they just used Patel which would of allowed them to bat a lot deeper. Despite the constant changes to the eleven, Bangalore are still losing and it’s pretty clear as to why that’s happening. It may sound a bit over the top, but the constant rotation of Brendon McCullum in & out of the team has hurt them this season. His batting may not be up to scratch, but they’ve been reluctant to keep Baz in the side with the former Black Caps superstar playing just six games out of a possible ten in IPL 11. If you know what this man is capable of, there’s no way you’re taking him out of the side unless he’s injured. We’ve seen it with the likes of Chris Gayle and Shane Watson, they might flop from time to time, but their upside is enormous. It might be time for the Royal Challengers to just play their most attacking XI and hope for the best, because whatever they’re doing at the moment isn’t working. Thankfully they have a potent bowling attack, Umesh Yadav has been their best in 2018 with a total of 14 wickets from his ten matches.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Delhi Daredevils | 45th match | Delhi
- Rishabh Pant
- Prithvi Shaw
- Shreyas Iyer
- Amit Mishra
- Dan Christian
Wildcard pick – Jason Roy
Top 5 fantasy picks | Royal Challengers Bangalore | 45th match | Delhi
- Virat Kohli
- AB de Villiers
- Umesh Yadav
- Tim Southee
- Parthiv Patel
Wildcard pick – Colin de Grandhomme
Delhi Daredevils (possible) – 1. Prithvi Shaw 2. Jason Roy 3. Shreyas Iyer © 4. Rishabh Pant (wk) 5. Glenn Maxwell/Dan Christian 6. Vijay Shankar 7. Rahul Tewatia 8. Amit Mishra 9. Harshal Patel 10. Liam Plunkett/Trent Boult 11. Junior Dala.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Brendon McCullum/Moeen Ali 3. Virat Kohli © 4. AB de Villiers 5. Pavan Deshpande/Sarfaraz Khan 6. Mandeep Singh 7. Colin de Grandhomme 8. Tim Southee 9. Umesh Yadav 10. Mohammed Siraj 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
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.