We are three weeks into the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League and boy, the last few games have produced some scintillating performances, including a couple of last-ball thrillers that enthralled fans across the globe.
After 25 exhilarating games filled with ebbs and flows, the action now shifts to the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur for the first time this season as the Rajasthan Royals take on the Lucknow Super Giants in an evening encounter on Wednesday, April 19.
While the home team are entering this clash on the back of a three-wicket win against the defending champions, Gujarat Titans, in their own den, Lucknow will be aiming to get back to winnings ways after a two-wicket loss against Punjab Kings at home.
KL Rahul-led outfit will also be itching to turn their fortunes around against the Royals as in the two matches played between them, the Royals have emerged victorious.
With stakes rocketing sky-high, it promises to be a closely fought encounter and here are some of the tips you can use to build your fantasy team.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium last hosted an IPL game in April 2019 featuring the Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad, where the home team recorded a comprehensive seven-wicket win.
In the 94 IPL innings played thus far at this venue, the average first innings score is around the 154-run mark and the average winning total is 174 runs.
Fast bowlers have been more effective at this venue and scalped 68.3 percent of the total wickets, with an average of 3.4 wickets per innings compared to 1.6 by the spinners.
With plenty of fiery pacers in the two camps, it will not be a bad idea to pick a couple of new ball bowlers in your fantasy XI.
While you could go for the above team, you can choose your team from Cricket.com's Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For small leagues: Jos Buttler (Captain), Sanju Samson (vice-captain)
For grand leagues: Trent Boult (Captain), Kyle Mayers (vice-captain)
Stats that matter
Jos Buttler, winner of the Orange Cap in the last edition, has been at the forefront of the Royals' batting unit this season, with 204 runs in five innings at an average of 40.8, including three half-centuries.
Along with Yashasvi Jaiswal, he smashed 85 runs in the powerplay against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the highest for the franchise in the history of the IPL.
The right-handed batter has been brutal in the first six overs and slammed 114 runs in 63 deliveries at a strike rate of 180.9, the second-best among batters with a minimum of 50 runs.
After a couple of ducks, skipper Sanju Samson bounced back in a commanding fashion to smash 60 off 32 deliveries to help the Royals erase the scars of the final against the Titans in Ahmedabad.
The 28-year-old has been the glue to the Royals' batting unit in the middle overs and scored 157 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 165.3, with two half-centuries.
Expect him to continue the fireworks in this high-voltage clash against Lucknow and help you gain maximum points.
Another player who should be part of the fantasy team is Mark Wood, who is the joint-leading wicket-taker in the competition with 11 scalps in four innings, including a five-wicket haul that dismantled against Delhi Capitals.
Grand league punts
Trent Boult started the tournament with twin double-wicket maidens in the first over of two matches that practically set the game up for the Royals with the ball in the powerplay.
The left-arm seamer is known for his ability to swing the ball early in the innings, and with the venue set to assist seamers early on in the innings, expect Boult to wreak havoc in the powerplay.
In IPL since 2021, Boult has scalped 20 wickets in the first six overs, the second-most by a bowler in that phase behind Mohammed Shami with 21 scalps.
Kyle Mayers has taken this edition of the mega event by storm with 168 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 168 and a ball-per-boundary ratio of four.
With KL Rahul anchoring the innings, the southpaw is known to take the attack to the opposition bowling unit and expect him to be one of the top performers for the visiting side in this clash.
Shimron Hetmyer is another player who should be in your fantasy XI as the left-hander has been brutal at the death (16-20), scoring 159 runs at a strike rate of 203.8.
He is the designated finisher for the Royals and will be the key player for the home team in their bid to post a formidable total on the board or chase down any target.
Top Criclytics Projection
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (Captain and wk), Riyan Parag, Shimron Hetmyer, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal
Lucknow Super Giants: Kyle Mayers, KL Rahul (Captain), Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ayush Badoni, Yudhvir Singh, Mark Wood, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan