Steve Smith (9.5 credits)
The Australian stalwart Steve Smith had an excellent performance in last year’s IPL with 319 runs in 12 innings and is expected to perform even better this season. His game will suit the Sharjah’s pitch, which will host the season’s first game. In the last few years in T20s, Sharjah has seen 140-160 ranging scores, and Steve Smith is bound to step up with the extra responsibility on his shoulders in the absence of Jos Butler.
Faf du Plessis (9 credits)
In the season opener, Faf du Plessis played a commendable innings as his 54* saved Chennai Super Kings from a precarious situation. Chennai Super Kings was in a condition of frustration 6-2 chasing 163. Faf, however, played a decent innings with Rayudu to lead Chennai Super Kings home safely. Faf is the ideal player for Chennai Super Kings in UAE conditions coming in at 3, he can put his head down and serve as the ideal anchor. He’s in great form, and he will perform well again.
Shreyas Gopal (8.5 points)
Last year, Shreyas Gopal was in excellent form, picked up 20 wickets and was able to grab big wickets of de Villiers and Virat Kohli. He’s a crafty leg spinner and knows how to trick the batsmen with his flight. This year, Rajasthan also released Krishnappa Gowtham, so Shreyas Gopal will also have a greater role in playing down the order and could perform well in both departments.