Weekend fixtures bring double joy for the Indian T20 League faithful. As of today, MS Dhoni’s Chennai team will take on Ravichandran Ashwin’s Punjab in the early game, while an in-form Hyderabad unit will lock horns with Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai team at home.
Barring Mumbai, all the other three teams – Hyderabad, Punjab and Chennai – are level on points and are only differed by their respective net run rate. As far as Chennai and Punjab are concerned, the two teams love staying on the neck of each other. Both have lost just one game this season, while their last five encounters don’t give a clear idea as well, with Chennai winning three and Punjab two.
Hyderabad and Mumbai, on the other hand, has rather been a one-sided affair if history is anything to go by. Since 2016, the two teams have clashed five times and the orange army has emerged victorious in four of them.
Two fixtures in a day though bring massive conundrum for fantasy coaches. But the top three picks have been selected and here’s the list:
Batsman: David Warner
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With 264 runs in mere four games, David Warner was the obvious choice as far as the batsmen are confirmed. Jonny Bairstow might run around in someone’s mind, but Hyderabad has been a hunting ground for the Aussie over the years, as back in 2017, he registered a mammoth 126 against Kolkata.
As far as personal milestones are concerned, Warner needs just 35 runs to complete his 500-run mark against Mumbai. To say Warner has been doom for Mumbai bowlers would be an understatement to make. Apart from Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga, none of the Mumbai bowlers have been able to pick his wicket.
With an average of 88.00 and a strike rate of 161.96, David Warner tops the chart in most picks.
Bowler: Imran Tahir
Punit Paranjpe / AFP
Sitting below Bengaluru’s Yuzvendra Chahal in most wickets taken, Chennai spinner Imran Tahir has been an absolute revelation for his team. The likes of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi might pop up in the department, but the fact remains that Tahir has been one of the most economical bowlers of the season. In four games this season, the veteran spinner has picked seven wickets and has conceded just 77 runs with an economy of 5.50.
All-rounder: Hardik Pandya
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Hardik Pandya was instrumental for Mumbai in their first home victory of the season, which ironically came against the defending champions, Chennai. Scoring 25 off just eight deliveries, the 25-year-old waved his magic with the ball, picking three wickets in his allotted four overs.
His performance was so impressive that Chennai coach Stephen Fleming couldn’t help but heap praises on him, saying that apart from being a key player for Mumbai, he is a massive fan of Hardik. Following all the controversies over the period, Hardik will have a point to prove tonight against an opponent who has time and again demolished Mumbai with relative ease.