The clash between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will kick-start the IPL 2018 season on April 7, meaning fantasy cricket season is also right around the corner.
Picking a team for the first few IPL games can give anyone a headache. However, there is a smart way to go about it and assemble a winning team to gain all the confidence to play through the IPL season. Here’s how you can master the fantasy cricket game.
IPL fantasy picks for the first match of each franchise
Match 1: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings
Up first is the mighty clash between two of the most successful IPL franchises. However, both teams will be nervy since it is the first encounter for both in the season.
Best fantasy picks: Captain Rohit Sharma is the mainstay of MI. Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and new recruit Evin Lewis are key to Mumbai’s chances and can make it count.
Risky picks: Pat Cummins and Mustafizur Rahman are both likely starters but Mitchell McClenaghan could also get the game. Also, there is uncertainty over Ben Cutting and JP Duminy’s chances of making it to the playing XI.
Chennai Super Kings
Best fantasy picks: Shane Watson is likely to get the opening slot. Don’t miss the Aussie all-rounder, for he can chip in with the ball. In Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, CSK boasts big match-players.
Risky picks: Since team combination is a big factor, there is uncertainty over the place of Sam Billings, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Karn Sharma in the playing XI.
Match 2: Kings XI Punjab vs Delhi Daredevils
The new-look teams – Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils – lock horns in the second game of IPL 2018. Again, there is an ambiguity of who will play and who would not, so here’s what you must pay heed to.
Kings XI Punjab
Best fantasy picks: Aussie overseas duo – Marcus Stoinis and Andrew Tye – make excellent selections. You can also consider KL Rahul, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin when picking players.
Risky picks: After poor last season, Chris Gayle is a bit of a gamble. Also, David Miller. You’re better off without them.
Best fantasy picks: Skipper Gautam Gambhir is likely to partner Colin Munro at the top. Both of them are unmissable. Among other DD players you should pick in your team are Chris Morris and Amit Mishra.
Risky picks: Considering there are only 4 slots for overseas players, there are chances of Trent Boult, Jason Roy or Glenn Maxwell missing out.
Match 3: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
In the 3rd IPL fixture, Virat Kohli led RCB is pitted against Kolkata Knight Riders. Both the teams are packed with little magicians, so whom to choose?
Kolkata Knight Riders
Best fantasy picks: KKR have in their ranks impact players such as Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. You don’t want to miss any of them.
Risky picks: Don’t rush to pick under-19 sensations Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti or Shivam Mavi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Best fantasy picks: Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are run-machines. They possess to turn matches on their heads. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar is the bowling duo you can think about.
Risky picks: Overseas players Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Colin De Grandhomme, Corey Anderson and Tim Southee fight for three spots and hence, it is not wise to include them in your team.
Match 4: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals
Warner-less Sunrisers Hyderabad face Smith-less Rajasthan Royals in the fourth match of the 2018 edition of Indian Premier League.
Best fantasy picks: Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson have to lead the charge with the bat for them to do well. Speaking of the bowling, 19-year-old Afghan leggie Rashid Khan and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar are two standout short-format bowlers. Shakib Al Hasan is another great addition to the SRH squad.
Risky picks: Carlos Brathwaite and Alex Hales are chancy picks, while one among Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma is expected to feature.
Best fantasy picks: Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler adorn RR’s batting. Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat are other sure starters.
Risky picks: Jofra Archer has made a name for himself in the Big Bash, but can he repeat the performances here?