A flying A.B.Devilliers brings RCB closer to the playoffs. However I still believe in the high likelihood of a Game of Thrones style twist.
It has taken 13 matches for a significant shuffle of the Playing XI. This is my analysis after Week one.
Based on the conditions I have set in my index this is the new result.
Rahul, Dhawan and Sampson are sitting nicely in the top three. AB De Villiers is precariously standing at four. I was tempted to drop him and bring in Naraine to open with Rahul. Dhawan and Sampson would move one place lower. Nitesh Rana has forced himself into the side. Surprisingly it is the uncanny knack of getting very important wickets at the right time that has caused this. I have placed him at five and put Hardik Pandya at six. However, if De Villiers does not perform well then I may end up dropping De Villiers and putting Rana at four and Hardik at five. I dropped Sam Billings and brought in Shakib Al Hasan. Getting Shakib in meant that I had to drop Markande. I believe the spin department is covered by Ashwin, Hasan and Rana. I have dropped Woakes and brought in Trent Boult. I have dropped Umesh Yadav and brought in Siddarth Kaul instead. These changes have strengthened the batting and have given more bowling options. I expect this list to change again.
I would really like to hear your views on this especially if you have a different View of the playing XI.
This post has been a long time coming after my first IPL Playing XI. However going forward this should become more frequent. As a reminder below are the criteria that I use in building my team.
- The team will have four International players.
- There will be a minimum of one spinner.
- The wicketkeeper will be a regular keeper for their team.
- The captain of the team will be one of the captains of the team.
- As much as possible the team will be playing at their regular positions.
Based on the above conditions my Index churned out the following team.
This is slightly different to the IPL XI put up by Simon Doull. His team is below.
The top four is a no-brainer. They clearly are the best people for those slots. Kishan was a contender for number 3 and the wicketkeeper bu Rahul and Samson can keep and their batting after week one is better than Nair. I expected Shane Watson to open but the sheer destructiveness of Rahul and Dhawan has pushed him off the opening slot. He is the third best foreign bowler. Despite this, he does not seem to slot anywhere else. Sunil Naraine was another contender for the opening slot. However, his hit out or get out attitude was too risky to warrant a place. I do not think there can be any arguments about three and four.
The Pandya brothers, Sam Billings and Karun Nair were fighting it out for five and six. I decided to go with Hardik and not Krunal because I needed a fast bowler. There were also better spinners that could be played. I decided to play Billings at six because he has the ability to change a game.
I had to pick Andre Russell. He is a good finisher. I see Bravo and Russell as having similar roles. I picked Russell because so far he has been better especially at bowling.
My first spinner and Captain of the team is Ashwin. I think this is the main difference between my list and that of Doull. The obvious captain from his list would be Devilliers. It is important to me that the captain is chosen from one of the eight or any other captain that may get chosen in the future. Ashwin has bowled well and he is able to make the batting go deeper. I strongly believe that Ashwin and Williamson have used their resources the best.
Umesh Yadav is the best fast bowler so far. Markande is the best spinner. The slot for the final fast bowler and a foreign player was between Chris Woakes and Mustafizur Rahman. I decided to go in for Woakes because he would strengthen the batting line up. He may be more expensive than Rahman but I do believe he is a better bowler and wicket taker than Rahman.
If you have a different view then I would really like to know.
This match fascinated me. The reason was the Duckworth Lewis Stern method (D/L) came into play. Rajasthan scored 153/5 off 17.5 overs. This equated to Delhi needing 70 runs off six overs. My index showed that the performance of RR was nearly three times better than Delhi. If I am not mistaken the net run rate for RR would have increased by 1.67 because of the win. This is 14.3% of the run rate of RR after accounting for D/L. I examined my assumptions and calculations after the result and found nothing that indicated that this difference was an anomaly or an existence of a bias against teams batting second. Looking at purely the batting points; the team batting second will get lower base points than the first team but they are sufficient checks to ensure that they will be able to score more points despite this.
Delhi just succumbed to the pressure. Munro getting run out without playing a ball had a huge impact. Maxwell and Pant did not contribute to the cause either. They were not able to get the required run rate from any bowler apart from Jaydev. The fate of the game seemed to have been decided as soon as the runout happened. Everything else was just a formality from that point onwards.
Rajasthan Royals and Delhi have huge problems to iron out. Munro is the weakest link in the team. To have that in the form of an opener is even worse. DD needs Munro to score, He is not like Naraine where any run by Naraine for KKR is a bonus. Morris has to start bowling better. For Rajasthan Royals, the biggest elephant in the room is Ben Stokes. His performance so far has not justified his price tag. Both these teams have to improve if they would like to get into the playoffs,
As always RCB on paper seems to be full of promise. This year saw them get a better balance in the team. The critical point seemed to be the 14th over where AB and Kohli fell. The result was that RCB probably got 20 runs short. This difference could have stretched the match to the last over. The weakness though in RCB continues to be their bowling. This is clearly reflected in the points that they scored. There were concerns raised the problem that RCB played only five bowlers. The issue is not how many bowlers were bowled. The issue is how effective those bowlers are. KKR went after Washington Sunder and Chahal. RCB did not have any back up bowlers. Wood and Tahir were targeted by Mumbai Indians however CSK could fall back on Watson, Bravo, Chahar and Harbhajan. The question this season will continue to remain whether the RCB bowlers will be able to support the batsmen. I believe that the batsmen of RCB are strong enough to put up a competitive score by playing one batsman less.
RCB will have to pick their game up. They will have to live by their motto to Play Bold. They will have to take some really strong decisions. They are currently bottom of the bowling list even though their bowlers are not the worst bowlers in the tournament. RCB is close to my heart. The Chinnaswamy stadium was where I saw my first test match. My love for cricket and test matches took root from there. It also helps that they have English players who were obtained at the auctions rather than as replacements. So this would probably be my team
1) Brendon McCullum
2) Parthiv Patel (wk)
3) Virat Kohli
4) AB de Villiers
5) Mandeep Singh
6) Moeen Ali/Tim Southee/Corey Anderson
7) Chris Woakes
8) Washington Sundar
9) Kulwant Khejroliya
10) Umesh Yadav
11) Yuzvendra Chahal
I believe the inclusion of either Moeen Ali. Tim Southee or Corey Anderson will be able to strengthen the bowling and batting of RCB. Parthiv Patel is a decent keeper. Moeen Ali has found himself doing well in the lower order. However I believe Moeen Ali and Parthiv Patel can be slotted anywhere in the order. I am curious about the team they will play against Kings XI Punjab. It will be an exciting game.
If the talk yesterday was the heroics of Dwayne Bravo then today it was completely blown away by the whirlwind batting performance of Lakesha Rahul. His 50 came off just 14 balls. This was followed by another good batting performance by Karun Nair. David Miller and Marcus Stonis finished the match in a nice and mature manner. Ashwin was extremely good as a captain. I was curious how their relationship would pan out after watching Ashwin speak frankly about Sehwag in this Video. Ashwin bowled really well and he used his resources intelligently. The day belonged to Lokesh Rahul.
Rahul was leaps and bounds ahead of anyone today. That being said Dwayne Bravo is still ahead of him because of Bravo’s contribution with the ball. My index is biased to all-rounders. This is not only a positive bias. Sub-par performances are punished too. Bravo’s innings was more crucial for the team. This is reflected by Bravo having contributed about 60% of his teams score while Rahul contributed 40%. This is truly shaping out to be a really good season that will provide me with the necessary data to test my methodology in a myriad of situations.