IPL 2016: Fantasy Championship guide RCB v GL

Mumbai Indians are in unfamiliar territory; they have been shifted out of the Wankhede and haven’t been able to figure out the conditions in their new home venue and they are losing out in the final few games of the league stage, something that hasn’t happened to them over the last 2 seasons.

The change of venue was always going to be a problem as not much was known about the conditions of the pitch at Vizag, but with the kind of support staff at their disposal, I am sure the Mumbai Indians would have taken into account their strengths before finalizing their new home venue.


But it just hasn’t been working for them. Even if they did chose Vizag because of its bowler friendly pitches, their batsman have negated that advantage by making the opponent bowlers look even more lethal.

None of the Mumbai Indians batsmen looked comfortable yesterday and their opening woes continue to grow in magnitude. Either they can keep sticking with that and always hope that the middle order will bail them out or they can be bold and leave out Kieron Pollard and get in Martin Guptill and open with Guptill and Rohit Sharma. All champion teams have brilliant openers and Mumbai Indians are far from having a good opening duo.

The Kings XI are just about clinging onto their hopes of making it to the playoffs. Murali Vijay has been a revelation for them since he has taken up the captaincy role. The bowlers have been fantastic for them and Marcus Stoinis has proven to be the allrounder that they have always been looking for.

Let’s get to business now!

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Lions

IPL 2016 Fantasy
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The last time these two teams met, Virat Kohli donned the superman cloak and scored a brilliant century only to be chased down by the hard-hitting openers of the Lions.

A lot has happened for both these teams since then, with the Lions suffering a 3-match losing streak and the RCB still sorting out their bowling unit.

The Chinnaswamy pitch behaved in a notorious manner last time round, by offering a lot of assistance to the bowlers, something that it has not done, well, forever. We’ll have to wait and watch, what it dishes out today, but I am going to stick with its inherent nature of not caring much about the bowlers.

Now, I already have Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson in my team for this game.

Considering the ground and the mediocre RCB bowling line up, I’ll be bringing in at least one of the Gujarat Lions power hitters.

Dwayne Smith started the season off in brilliant fashion but hasn’t been able to carry on. I expect RCB to bring in Iqbal Abdulla to counter the dynamic opening duo of McCullum and Smith. Smith’s weakness against the ball turning away forces me to leave him out.

So, it has to be one from McCullum and Finch. There is no clear justification that I can provide with regard to this, except the fact that Finch has been in better form in this IPL. Also, with Raina’s exclusion Finch would be promoted to number 3 and that enhances his ‘point providing’ potential.

But whenever I leave out McCullum, that brilliant 158 against RCB flashes in front of my eyes. Having persisted with him all through the tournament, I wouldn’t want to miss out on another McCullum special and hence, going with my gut, I would prefer McCullum to Finch.

I leave out KL Rahul, as I’ll have to keep him in my team for 4 games, which I wouldn’t be able to do, as I want to bring in Robin Uthappa for the next game (and he plays twice in 3 games)

But if you have more than 22 transfers, you could bring in Rahul as he has been brilliant in the last 4 games.

I expect RCB to drop Gayle and revert back to their policy of opening with Kohli and Rahul.

For the uncapped player, I bring in Yuzvendra Chahal as I have to bring in an uncapped bowler and he seems the best option. In the last game against the Mumbai Indians, he bowled superbly, choking the runs and also picking up a wicket. If he can find that some turn today, it could be a long day for the Gujarat Lions.

Batting captain: AB de Villiers (if RCB bat first)/ Virat Kohli (if RCB bat second)

Bowling captain: Shane Watson

RCB v GL preview – IPL 9, Match 44 Preview: Must win for RCB; qualification opportunity for GL