In the first game of the 24th of April, the Bangalore Royal Challengers will play their fourth match of the period against the Kings XI Punjab, and both seem to be in the same boat. While the Royal Challengers have won one match, they have managed to lose the next three in succession, where as the Kings have yet to open their account in this edition so far.
Yusuf Abdullah was my favourite for some time, but watching his performance in the series so far, I would not be surprised if he is replaced by a Burt Cockley. However, given the way the Kings have performed in the tournament so far, it is not impossible to expect a major revamp in the playing eleven of the Punjab team.
Yuvraj Singh may also be looking at strengthening his side’s bowling and dropping one of the foreign batsmen at the top. So, either one of the three, Ravinder Bopara, Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene could face the axe, though Jayawardene’s last inning could ensure that he maintains his place. And then, Abdullah could still remain a part of the line-up.
From the Royal Challengers’ perspective, neither Ross Taylor nor Jesse Ryder have had much going their way so far, but I would still persist with the former. The simpler reason for that is that Ryder hasn’t had more than a couple of deliveries at the crease, and hence it is difficult to gauge whether he has actually lost his form that he was riding on in New Zealand or it is only an aberration.>
Rahul Dravid continues to impress with his knocks and with Virat Kohli also coming into his own, he makes for a valid case of being pushed up the order. Kevin Pietersen has failed again, but great batsmen like rarely go through a tournament without too many runs and so chucking him out of the team now would now be not without too much risk.
Amongst bowlers, Dale Steyn and Praveen Kumar look the most likely to take the wickets and although they haven’t been restrictive enough, I will get in one of the duo in my line-up.
After this match, all teams have one match each to go for this period and so it may make sense to make smart selections, or get in players from one of the four; Punjab, Bangalore, Kolkata or Rajasthan and let the player remain for the two matches from tomorrow. All in all, an important phase before the winner of the week at the Sports Pundit IPL Fantasy gets chosen!