NOTE: All stats here are updated until 24 April 2021
The caravan moves to the second leg of games in Ahmedabad and Delhi. Each side will play their next four games at these venues. For Punjab and Kolkata, the new home for the second leg will be Ahmedabad.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms, we have come up with one team.
The stadium in Ahmedabad last witnessed an IPL game in 2017 when the Gujarat Lions were still around. Since its renovation, there have been 12 T20 games here since the start of 2020. This also included five T20Is between India and England. In terms of numbers, the average run rate there of 7.9 which is the third-best after Wankhede and Holkar stadium in Indore (among venues with 10 or more T20s since 2020).
However, a balls per dismissal of 23 is the highest here, indicating that bowlers find it difficult to be among the wickets here. For spinners, this number worsens further to 28.7, warranting a question mark on their selection to your fantasy side unless the player concerned is Varun Chakravarthy for whom pitches do not matter.
Given the numbers above, it will be a good idea to stock your team with batsmen and including bowlers with pace. You can take a cue from India’s series against England when Mark Wood and Jofra Archer breathed fire on the pitches at Motera.
There could be a few interesting match-ups too
Andre Russell has not been able to lift Kolkata out of a losing rut they find themselves in. However, he loves batting against Punjab’s spearhead Mohammed Shami. In last five years, Russell has scored 77 runs in 27 balls against the speedster and has been dismissed only once.
In the last IPL, KL Rahul and Chakravarthy came face to face twice. The Punjab skipper was able to score only 18 runs off him in 19 balls and was also dismissed once.
Due to his all-round effectiveness, Andre Russell is the safest bet for the captain of your fantasy XI. He bowls at the death when the batsmen are going gung-ho which increases his chances of getting wickets. Bowling in four innings, he has seven wickets to his name already. With the bat, he has shown glimpses of form in the last few matches. If the pitch in Ahmedabad offers little help to the bowlers, Russell might wreak havoc.
No other Punjab batsman has a strike rate higher than Deepak Hooda’s 162.7. This is in excess of 155 against both pace and spin. He has already played two brisk knocks in four innings. And if Punjab continue to send him above Nicholas Pooran, he is bound to get more opportunities. Moreover, he is also likely to bowl his off-spinners against Kolkata’s lefties.
Mohammed Shami is the spearhead of Punjab’s bowling attack. So far he has taken six wickets in five games. But since he bowls with the new-ball and at the death, the prospect of him picking wickets are high.
The Knight Riders are using Varun Chakravarthy in an attacking role. Hence, we would see him bowling in the Powerplay when Mayank Agarwal, if not Rahul is usually the aggressor. His match-up against Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran will also be interesting. Hence, he should find a place in your XI.