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Fantasy: Bank on Chahal and Rajasthan’s top-three

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Last updated on 04 Apr 2023 | 12:42 PM
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Fantasy: Bank on Chahal and Rajasthan’s top-three

Here are a few tips that could help you create your fantasy XI for the 8th match of IPL 2023 between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals

History is all set to be created on Wednesday, April 5, as for the first time ever, the Indian Premier League (IPL) heads to the North East. That’s right. Three months ago, the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati hosted just its fifth-ever international match and on Wednesday, it will be hosting Assam and North East’s first ever IPL match with the Punjab Kings taking on IPL 2022 finalists Rajasthan Royals. 

We’ve got a mouth-watering contest on our hands as both PBKS and RR started their respective campaigns with victories. The 2023 IPL is still in its nascent stages but there’s a high possibility that the victor of this particular encounter will find themselves at the top of the points table on Wednesday night. 

In recent times, the Punjab-Rajasthan encounter has delivered big time. There’s every reason to believe that, tomorrow, we’ll be witnessing yet another classic between these two sides.

Ground Details

Since the Barsapara Cricket Stadium has never hosted an IPL game previously, we’re kinda in uncharted territory here. But the good news is that a total of 11 T20s (SMAT + T20 Internationals) have been played at this venue since 2021.

One of them was a clash between India and South Africa in October last year and that particular contest proved to be the mother of all run fests, with the two sides combinedly scoring 458 runs for the loss of just six wickets. India batted first and posted 237/3 on the board and the Proteas nearly chased it down, falling just 16 runs short. Notably, David Miller scored a sizzling 47-ball 106*.

However, the SMAT numbers suggest that the India-South Africa clash was an anomaly.

For in 10 SMAT encounters in 2021, the average batting first score at the venue proved to be just 144. In 7/10 matches, the team batting first posted a score below 150 and also only once did any side post over 180 — that was Mumbai against Baroda. 

The sample size is small but spinners have tended to enjoy bowling here more than the pacers, with them taking nearly 60% of the wickets.  In the 2021 SMAT season, five of the top six wicket-takers at this venue were spinners.

Suggested Team

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.

Captaincy suggestions

For small leagues: Jos Butter (capt), Sanju Samson (vice-capt)

For grand leagues: Yuzvendra Chahal (capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal (vice-capt)

Stats that matter

> All of Buttler, Jaiswal and Samson have outstanding records against Punjab, with each batter averaging over 40 and striking at over 140 against the Kings. Jaiswal has averaged 58.5 and has struck at 151.9 vs PBKS and in the H2H encounter last season, he smashed a 41-ball 68.

> Sanju Samson’s last five knocks vs Punjab: 23 (12), 4 (5), 119 (63), 48 (25) and 85 (42). Since 2020, he’s averaged 55.8 and has struck at 189.8 against the Kings in the IPL.

> RR’s trump card with the ball, Yuzi Chahal loves playing Punjab too. In his IPL career, he’s taken 28 wickets against them at an average of 16.3 and has taken three-fers in each of his last two H2H meetings against PBKS.

> Adding to the previous point, Punjab’s batting average of 22.22 vs leg-spin in IPL 2022 was the third-worst among all sides. 

> Arshdeep Singh has taken 10 wickets in his previous three matches versus Rajasthan. He’ll be entering Wednesday’s clash on the back of a three-fer in the first game of the season vs KKR.

Grand league punts

> Considering Punjab’s high-risk approach and their weakness against spin, taking a punt on Yuzi Chahal would be a pretty smart move. There’s a reason Chahal has registered back-to-back three-fers against this Punjab side.

> Close your eyes and pick all of Buttler, Samson and Jaiswal in your side. They’re must-haves and leaving them out will be a blunder.

> Do not sleep on Jitesh Sharma — he could fetch you plenty of points in the form he’s in.

Top Criclytics projection

Probable XIs

Punjab: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prabhsimran Singh (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Nathan Ellis / Kagiso Rabada Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh 

Rajasthan: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Riyan Parag, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, KM Asif, Yuzvendra Chahal

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