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,
Oh what a circus, oh what a show. That seems to be the only appropriate words to use. CSK has truly brought the league to life. The changes that were made was extremely interesting. Jadhav had to be left out because of his injury. A simple swap could have been made. The changes that were made were inspirational. Two changes were unexpected. Getting Sam Billings for Jadhav and replacing Mark Wood with Shardul Thakur was great. The move paid off. Billings played amazing innings.Thakur bowled below the average run rate and he took a wicket too. These changes meant that CSK started higher in my ranking. The Change made by KKR to bring in Tom Curran for the injured Starc was brilliant. Replacing Johnson with him made me feel even more proud. The pain of the loss of the Ashes disappeared momentarily. I loved the way Curran reacted after getting Watson out. There are reports that Curran called him a pie thrower. I do not care. The IPL is a huge gladiatorial festival. It is good to see controlled aggression and people wearing their hearts on their sleeve. I am a big fan of the Curran brothers and I am sure that Tom’s stint in India will help him. This match showcased England and Windies cricket.
This match may have gone down to the wire but my numbers show that CSK outperformed KKR by 18%. CSK’s last match was saved by Bravo. This time it was the combined performance of the team that gave them the victory. That being said you really have to feel for Andre Russell and Sunil Naraine. Naraine has been given a license to kill. If he is successful like he was with RCB then he can be destructive. If he gets out cheaply then it will not matter because he would not have wasted any balls. The people in Chennai could not have asked for a better opening game.
I do not question the value of Dhoni in the team. I do have to question his value in my Playing XI. He is currently the worst batsman in the team. Wood, Chahar and Thakur are the only players worse than him. With the performance of Billings, I seriously doubt whether Wood will be able to get back into the side barring any injury of course. CSK gave a nice welcome to their fans with this match. Sadly it may be their last because they will not be playing in Chennai this season and there is talk that they will not play in Chennai next season because of elections. Politics and cricket do not mix well.