IPL

IPL Double-Header – Matches 53 & 54 – FCN Preview

This is it, we’re on the home straight with the 2019 IPL playoffs waiting at the finish line! Three teams have now qualified for the playoffs, as far as the rest of the competition goes it’s set to be an epic shootout between four teams for that fourth & final spot over the course of a jam-packed IPL weekend. Hyderabad’s NRR (net run rate) is keeping them wedged in the top four, however a loss against RCB tomorrow night will leave the door wide open for one of Rajasthan, Kolkata and Kings XI. Let the games begin!

Match 53 – Delhi Capitals vs Rajasthan Royals

Rain inevitably cost the Rajasthan Royals a win against RCB, resulting in a draw which saw them gain just one-single point leaving them in a difficult position to make this season’s IPL playoffs. They’d need everything to go their way to qualify, a minor-miracle. Their opposition have already booked a spot in the playoffs, however they’ll want to finish in the top two to guarantee a double-chance.

Shreyas Iyer is on a mission, Delhi is yet to register an IPL title and last made the playoffs seven years ago in what feels like an eternity. That was the old Delhi, now we find ourselves on the edge of our seats watching this new-look Delhi Capitals which has a substantial blend of youth and experience. The Capitals would see this match as a prime-opportunity to go into the playoffs all guns blazing, some of their players are in desperate-need of a confidence-booster.

Rishabh Pant is one of them, and despite his incredible ability at such a young age he finds himself in a bit of a form slump. Shreyas Iyer’s past month in the tournament has been exceptional, he’s averaging 38.88 but more importantly has accumulated 350 runs in that time. Can his youngsters rise to the occasion with him? It was CSK who just recently handed Delhi an 80-run loss, however their leading wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada and experienced paceman Ishant Sharma were both rested. Rabada has been an imposing figure in the IPL this season, his 25 wickets still sees him four wickets clear of anyone else in the tournament. The bad news for Delhi is that Kagiso Rabada will miss the rest of this season’s IPL due to a back niggle. 

The Rajasthan Royals have nothing to lose, they might as well throw the kitchen sink at the Capitals and cross their fingers that it comes off. With Steve Smith joining the Australian Cricket Team ahead of the ICC World Cup, a huge vacancy is left in the Royals middle-order. They’ll be relying on Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson, Rajasthan’s two in-form batsmen of the competition who’ve been timing the ball ever-so sweetly. England’s Liam Livingstone has added some muscle at the top of the order with his big-hitting, while 17-year-old Riyan Parag continues to impress.

Ashton Turner’s horrific-stint in his debut IPL season might see him miss out, Rahul Tripathi is another candidate putting his hand up. A five-over aside game didn’t stop Shreyas Gopal from impacting the game as he claimed just the second hat-trick of the tournament in just 1 over!  Gopal has been a key contributor for Rajasthan with the ball this season claiming 18 wickets in 13 games, he’s been one of their more impressive bowlers alongside Jofra Archer. Their new fast-bowling combination of Varun Aaron and Oshane Thomas is proving to be just as effective, the pair combing for 9 wickets in the past few games.

Top 4 fantasy picks – Delhi Capitals

  • Shreyas Iyer
  • Shikhar Dhawan
  • Trent Boult
  • Axar Patel

Wildcard pick – Rishabh Pant

Top 4 fantasy picks – Rajasthan Royals

  • Ajinkya Rahane
  • Sanju Samson
  • Shreyas Gopal
  • Oshane Thomas

Wildcard pick – Stuart Binny

Team XI’s

Delhi Capitals (possible) – 1. Prithvi Shaw 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Shreyas Iyer © 4. Colin Ingram/Colin Munro 5. Rishabh Pant (wk) 6. Sherfane Rutherford 7. Axar Patel 8. Chris Morris/Keemo Paul 9. Amit Mishra 10. Trent Boult 11. Ishant Sharma.

Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane © 2. Liam Livingstone 3. Sanju Samson (wk) 4. Rahul Tripathi/Ashton Turner 5. Riyan Parag 6. Stuart Binny 7. Mahipal Lomror 8. Shreyas Gopal 9. Jaydev Unadkat 10. Varun Aaron 11. Oshane Thomas.

Match 54 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

The departure of David Warner proved costly in Hyderabad’s last match as they went down to the Mumbai Indians in the super over, now they find themselves in a must-win encounter against the bottom feeders of the tournament, RCB. They may not be able to make the playoffs, but the Royal Challengers can still upset Hyderabad’s party and potentially have a say in their future in the tournament

Bangalore will be aiming to exit this season’s somewhat-disappointing IPL campaign with a big win in front of a packed home crowd in Bengaluru. It’s been a season of missed opportunities for the Royal Challengers, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were expected to take them to the Promised Land, when in actual fact they’ve probably gone in the opposite direction and plummeted into a dark, damp and wet drain with very-little light. Given this is a dead-rubber, we could see numerous changes to this RCB outfit including the departure of Marcus Stoinis who joins the Australia’s World Cup camp.

It’s amazing really, Virat Kohli has still managed to score 448 runs and de Villiers isn’t far behind on 441, yet the team is a near-certainty to finish last in the standings?! Parthiv Patel has also had a solid campaign with 373 runs, perhaps their middle-order woes along with some rare-failures from Virat and ABD along the way proved too much to recover from. The bowling has been far from impressive as well, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj haven’t done their job for the team in 2019 which has left Yuzvendra Chahal under immense pressure to take majority of the wickets. The injury to Dale Steyn hasn’t helped either, it’s been another season to forget for RCB.

If Hyderabad can’t find a way to win in this game, it’s more likely than not that they’ll find themselves knocked out of the tournament after making such a promising start. It’s no secret that International-duo David Warner and Jonny Bairstow was the key to their success, but they can’t dwell on that now with a spot in the playoffs at stake. Manish Pandey appears to have taken over the role from Warner as the Sunrisers most prolific run-scorer, he’s in career-best form in the IPL at the moment with scores of 83*, 61, 36 and 71* since being brought back into the team after he was dropped earlier.

Despite his brilliance with the bat, Pandey can’t do it on his own. Martin Guptill was bought by Hyderabad to make an impact, and Kane Williamson’s mediocre form can’t afford to continue. They may have to rely on their bowling which wouldn’t have been the plan initially, but only one batsman seems to be in the zone which leaves Hyderabad’s bowling unit a massive task ahead of them. What Khaleel Ahmed is doing with the ball at the moment must give them some hope, 14 wickets from seven matches is an incredible effort returning from injury. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi all but pencilled in to play, do they bite the bullet and bring back Sandeep Sharma? My guess is yes.

Top 4 fantasy picks – Royal Challengers Bangalore

  • Virat Kohli
  • AB de Villiers
  • Yuzvendra Chahal
  • Parthiv Patel

Wildcard pick – Shimron Hetmyer

Top 4 fantasy picks – Sunrisers Hyderabad

  • Khaleel Ahmed
  • Manish Pandey
  • Mohammad Nabi
  • Rashid Khan

Wildcard pick – Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Team XI’s

Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Virat Kohli © 3. Shimron Hetmyer 4. AB de Villiers 5. Heinrich Klaasen/Colin de Grandhomme 6. Shivam Dube/Gurkeerat Singh Mann 7. Pawan Negi 8. Tim Southee 9. Umesh Yadav 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Navdeep Saini/Kulwant Khejroliya/Mohammed Siraj.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (possible) – 1. Wriddhiman Saha (wk) 2. Martin Guptill 3. Manish Pandey 4. Kane Williamson © 5. Vijay Shankar 6. Mohammad Nabi 7. Deepak Hooda/Yusuf Pathan 8. Rashid Khan 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10. Khaleel Ahmed 11. Sandeep Sharma/Siddarth Kaul.

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