The most prestigious cricket league, The Indian Premier League gets underway on September 19. Fans are in for a visual treat, as the celebrated tournament is set to take place in the United Arab Emirates. The million-dollar IPL picks become household players in no time, and a lot will be expected from both experienced campaigners as well as newcomers.
Here’s your chance to get involved in the action. The IPL Fantasy league is your opportunity to captain your side to glory, right from the comfort of your couch, and we’ll be with you every step of the way with tips and picks to guide you through each match.
Although Warner-Bairstow do seem like the dream pair to have for any batting line-up, don’t go too heavy on the English or Australian players as there is no clarity on their quarantine period, which makes it difficult for them to feature in the first couple of games.
With the IPL set to be played in only three UAE venues this year, pitches are likely to wear as the tournament goes on. The slower pitches are often a boon to finger-spinners, who rely on turn off the surface more than wrist-spinners, who can more reliably deal in deception. But don’t count off-spinners out just yet, as they can do more than be kryptonite to left-handed batsmen.
It’s worth noting that the best way to pick a player for the team is making a shortlist of your assets from each position of the sport.
David Warner – Sunrisers Hyderabad (12.5 credits)
The availability of David Warner for the opening fixtures remains uncertain, however, the 3-time Orange Cap winner is one of the most explosive openers in the T20 format of the game. He has delivered consistently in the IPL, stamping his authority as one of the dominant forces in the league. Striking at 141.7, he has scored over 500 runs in each of the last five seasons and holds an exceptional record against spin, averaging 62.17 and is expected to use the UAE conditions in his favor.
Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore (12.5 credits)
There is no doubt that Virat Kohli is an absolute run-machine of the IPL. In the 2016 season, he smashed an astonishing 973 runs, scoring four hundreds and seven fifties at a strike rate of 152.03. While many opine that it is a record that may never be broken, a winner’s medal still eludes the Indian skipper. Even as his team struggled in 2019, he bagged 464 runs with an average of 33.14 and a strike-rate of 141.46. Kohli is one of the safest bets for any fantasy league manager. Crowd or no crowd, all that Kohli needs is a bat to deliver guaranteed returns.
KL Rahul – Kings XI Punjab (12 credits)
Having been appointed as the Kings XI Punjab captain, Rahul will have another dimension of his cricketing skill tested to the limits during the 2020 edition of the IPL.
From donning the keeper’s gloves to being sent out to bat as an opener, middle-order batsman and a top-order specialist in all formats of the game, KL Rahul is fast developing a reputation of being Indian cricket’s Mr. Adaptable, and stylish cricketing shots. Yes, we are talking about hitting the ball over covers for a six. Rahul has enjoyed a consistent run over the last two seasons-scoring 659 runs and 593 runs in 2018 and 2019 respectively, also ending up as Punjab’s leading run-scorer in these two editions.
Jos Buttler – Rajasthan Royals (11.5 credits)
Jos Buttler’s monstrous hitting skills are popular both in international cricket and the IPL. The 30-year-old has been in excellent form in England’s triumph over the Aussies in the T20 series. Butler will be key to the Rajasthan Royals’ top order in providing stability and making the best of the powerplay overs. He smashed 548 runs in 13 matches at a strike rate of 155.24 in 2018 and racked up 311 runs in just eight games in 2019.
Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals) – 9.5 credits
Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer portrayed his leadership skills in IPL 2019, as he guided the team to their first playoffs in seven years. Much is expected of the Iyer-Pant duo, where Pant is known for his explosive innings and Iyer is understood to play an anchor role.
Since his debut in 2015, Shreyas has amassed more than 400 runs on three of those occasions, and he aggregated 463 runs last season — his most in one edition of the tournament. Featuring regularly in India’s ODIs and T20I sides of recent times, Iyer with the likes of experienced Ashwin and Rahane in the squad will aim to win a maiden IPL crown for the Delhi Capitals.
Rashid Khan – Sunrisers Hyderabad (10 credits)
It is very hard to overlook Rashid Khan as one of the lead attackers for the bowling line-up. Apart from picking up wickets, he is popular for controlling the flow of runs and some pinch-hitting. The leg-spinner turned in a few memorable match-winning efforts in SRH’s journey to the finals of the 2018 edition. With 17 wickets and an economy rate of 6.28, Khan should be considered among top fantasy assets and will look to make the best of his variations on the spin-friendly UAE pitches.
Jasprit Bumrah – Mumbai Indians (10 credits)
On his day, Bumrah can nail six yorkers. Indian cricket team’s go-to bowler across all three formats, Jasprit Bumrah has been exceptional with the white ball. Rising to popularity with his unorthodox action, Bumrah’s stature has grown rapidly and he is a vital cog in Mumbai Indian’s wheel. He brings a mixture of varieties, from bowling fiery yorkers, short-pitched, and good length deliveries at a consistent pace. In IPL 2019, Bumrah finished as the 5th highest wicket-taker with 19 wickets at an economy rate of 6.63 and helped Mumbai clinch the trophy by defeating Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Yuzvendra Chahal – Royal Challengers Bangalore (9 credits)
Yuzvendra Chahal is India’s first bowler to collect a five-wicket haul in the T20Is. Prominently featuring in the limited-overs formats, the wrist spinner has been RCB’s most consistent performer with the ball and has a knack of picking wickets at regular intervals. He has been captain Kohli’s go-to man, picking up 18 wickets with an economy rate of 7.28 in the 2019 IPL season.
Jofra Archer – Rajasthan Royals (9.5 credits)
Jofra Archer was one of the most exciting picks in the IPL Player Auction 2018, having caught the eyes of cricket fans in the 2018 Big Bash League. Bringing the Caribbean flair to the tournament, he can clock speeds of up to 150 kph and is a strong enforcer in the line-up. He can whack the ball clean and hard, and when he puts on the bowling shoes, he can clock speeds in excess of 150 kph. He brings in the Caribbean flavour and his wicket celebrations have also made him very popular. Apart from his pace and accuracy, Archer can play a huge role in reducing the run rates.
Hardik Pandya – Mumbai Indians (11 credits)
A big hitter and a fast-bowler, Hardik Pandya will be raring to go after a long time off due to injury. Scoring 402 runs with a strike rate of 191.42 and picking up 14 wickets in the 2019 IPL season, he ticks all the boxes that a team desires from an all-rounder. Although expensive with the ball, Pandya’s knack of picking wickets at important moments was crucial to Mumbai Indian’s title win in 2019. Expect him to go ballistic yet again!
Ravindra Jadeja – Chennai Super Kings (8.5 credits)
On the spin-friendly UAE tracks, Ravindra Jadeja will be one of CSK’s most important bowlers. In an aging CSK squad, Jadeja is an absolute gun fielder. With the absence of Raina and Harbhajan, the southpaw will be key in the spin department, and might even be prompted to bat up the order (possibly to take on left-arm and wrist spinners).
Andre Russell – Kolkata Knight Riders (12.5 credits)
The big hitter and a complete T20 package. Taking a look at his record from the 2019 season, Russell finished with the most sixes in the tournament, clearing the boundary 52 times – the second-most by a player in an IPL season. With a whopping 510 runs at a strike rate of 204.81 and 11 scalps, Russell won the Most Valuable Player award. With his run of form in the 2020 CPL tournament, expect him to bat higher up the order and some sixes galore!
Ben Stokes – Rajasthan Royals (11 credits)
Having a guy in your side that does all three – bat, bowl, field – is so crucial in the short format of the game. Stokes’ incredible run of form with England makes him one of the best all-rounders of the modern-day game, a destructive batsman, and an effective fast-bowler. By his own standards, Stokes will have set the bar high for the 2020 IPL season, having a run of poor games in the previous season. It is worth noting that Stokes’s availability for the IPL is unknown, but the list would be incomplete without featuring him in this shortlist.
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