On India’s loss to the West Indies and Fantasy tips for the ICC World T20 Final

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While India were just about getting over the line in all their league games in this T20 World Cup, who would have thought that ‘getting over the line’ would prove to be the reason for their downfall in their first knockout game.

When Dinesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo missed the stumps from 5 yards to run Virat Kohli out, it just seemed to be his day. And it was. He shone, with the light of a thousand stars, but the others (with probably just the exception of Dhoni) just flickered and ultimately ran out of fire.

Apart from Virat Kohli’s master class, everything seemed to go wrong for the Indians; the toss, the lack of acceleration in the first 10 overs, the dreaded ‘no balls’ and the lack of judgment from Jadeja in the outfield.

And when Andre Russell struck that massive six to finish off the game, there was this sense of disbelief in the crowd, in the players and the billion fans watching at home. None of them could actually muster as to what struck them. The Gayle storm had been evaded, so how could they lose? How could two players who had made a name for themselves in Indian Premier League actually go out and trounce the Indians in their backyard, especially in the semi final of a World Cup? When the adrenaline finally settled down and everyone got some time to process as to what had happened, the emotions started to flow. Some were teary eyed while others just sat there with their face and body showing signs of utter helplessness.

When you lose a close semi final or a final, you always want to get one more shot at it, and quickly. However, we’ don’t have that luxury, we’ll have to wait another three years for it(and maybe 20 years to have another World Cup in India)

Wait and Believe- That’s all we can do!

Let’s get to business now!

 

England vs West Indies- The Final

Transfers: 4

Transfer out: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Ashish Nehra

Transfer in: Joe Root, Lendl Simmons, DJ Bravo/Ben Stokes, Samuel Badree/Jason Roy

 

Few would have put their money on these two teams taking the field on April 3rd in Kolkata. But here we are, with the IPL heroes taking on the new age English team.

I already have Jos Buttler, David Wiley, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Jonathan Charles and Suleimann Benn in my side for this game.

Considering that it is a final and that a fresh wicket will be used for tomorrow’s game, I expect it to be a good batting wicket.

The first player I bring in is Joe Root. He has been a revelation for the England team in this World Cup and on a flat deck, I am pretty sure of him being amongst the runs.

DJ Bravo would be my next pick for this game, especially if West Indies bowl first as he’ll be sure to bowl is quota of four overs as opposed to defending a low score which the English batsmen could gobble up in less than 20 overs. Also, the dew could be a factor, while bowling second.

If, England bowl first, I would get Ben Stokes in as he could get a few cheap wickets at the back end of the innings and could also come in handy while chasing a total. Also, in this case I bring in Jason Roy even though he is not comfortable against spin, because the dew would render the spin threat useless.

Lendl Simmons is sure to earn a promotion to number 3 for this game. With the match winning performance in the last game, he is sure to be high on confidence and his knowledge of Eden Gardens should also come in handy. Get him in!

For my fourth pick, if the track assists spin and West Indies bowl first, Samuel Badree will get the nod. He has been brilliant for the Windies in the powerplay and would be able to take advantage of the susceptible nature of the English to quality spin bowling. But leave him out if West Indies bowl second because the dew will cause the ball to just skid on.

Let’s break it down into two cases

 

Case 1- England bat first

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 The four players I bring in are Joe Root, Lendl Simmons, DJ Bravo and Samuel Badree.

Case 2- West Indies bat first

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 I bring in Joe Root, Lendl Simmons, Ben Stokes and Jason Roy

I leave out Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan because of their erratic form throughout the tournament and I would like to bank on consistent performers on a big day. I go for Ben Stokes instead of Chris Jordan because of Stokes’ batting skills.

 Captain for this game: Chris Gayle

The forecast is for thunderstorm and I am sure the Gayle storm will not stay too behind.

This is the last article of this series and I hope you have enjoyed the Fantasy tips, strategies, match previews etc. But hey it’s not goodbye time as of now. For all of you who are playing the IPL Fantasy, do check out this space from the 8th of April. See you then.

Happy team picking!

Quantify your cricketing judgments: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Semi Final-2

ICC-T20

Sometimes, having it too easy leaves you underprepared for when the going gets tough. And New Zealand had to learn that the hard way today. The spinners and the openers led New Zealand’s charge in the group stages and when they couldn’t deliver today, it was always going to be tough. They would be gutted, because they were the only unbeaten team in the group stages but if you don’t turn up on the big day, you can be sent packing!

England, on the other hand looked fresh, they looked determined and they looked upbeat. The death bowling was superb, the catching was perfect and the intent at the start of the chase was so unlike England. The Old England would have tried to see out the first few overs, but not this bunch. They wanted to make a statement; they wanted to release the pressure by taking the attack to the opposition and not by playing the waiting game. This is where England have changed as a unit and this is what makes them so threatening now.

So, over to the Wankhede now!

 

India vs West Indies

 Transfers: 6

 Transfers out: Guptill, Williamson, Anderson, Santner, Sodhi, Root

 Transfers in: Rohit Sharma, Benn, Gayle, Jonathan Charles, 2 from Jadeja, Negi,  Pandey, Pandya, Simmons, Nehra(explained in the article)

 

Almost 5 years ago, MS Dhoni hit that iconic six at the Wankhede to gift India a second ODI World Cup. What a magical night it was; the jubilation, the tears, the smiles, the relief, the excitement, the pride; every Indian wanted that night to slow down, to savour the occasion, to feel the emotion, to just take it all in as we didn’t know if we could get that setup in our lifetime ever again.

But here we are, 5 years down the line, another World Cup, another knockout game, a different opponent, a young team, the same leader, the same passion.

The Wankhede would buzzing and we could be in for a run feast tomorrow, unless of course the pitch hasn’t been turned into one that is conducive for spin. Highly unlikely though, because no matter how much you tinker with the surface, it does keep it’s inherent properties and the Wankhede has a good batting strip and I don’t think it will change much for this game.

Looking at the pitch, I brought in Corey Anderson instead of Adil Rashid for the last game, as it seemed like Rashid’s sliders won’t be much effective on a good batting surface. Also, as New Zealand were batting first, getting Corey in made all the more sense.

I couldn’t leave out Ish Sodhi or Santner because of the high percentage of Fantasy players opting for these two and with the wicket destined to get slower in the second innings, I felt these two could make a big difference.

So, now I have 5 Kiwi players in my side and 3 English players. It probably worked out for the best. I’ll be transferring out those 5 Kiwi players right away.

I already have Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Andre Russell in my team for this game.

Now, the first player you bring in on a freckle less batting wicket is Chris Gayle. Indian fans would be hoping to see the back of him but from a Fantasy perspective, you can’t leave him out on a batting paradise.

I have time and again backed Rohit Sharma in this World Cup and tomorrow should be the day he finally comes off. The Wankhede has always been kind to him and with the ball not doing much; he is guaranteed to be amongst the runs.

If Chris Gayle doesn’t fire, I expect India to win this easily as the West Indian middle order is really fragile. That’s why, I get Bravo in only if India bat first cause then he surely gets to bowl his 4(2 of them at the death). If West Indies bat first and Gayle fails, I don’t see Bravo bowling his full quota of 4 overs.

On a flat Wankhede track and against an opposition that plays spins well, I don’t expect Badree to make much of an impact. But Suleimann Benn could be a handful. What works in Benn’s favour is that he bowls outside the powerplay and can extract bounce from the surface (because of his height). And thus, I opt for Benn instead of Badree.

Yuvraj has been ruled out of the World Cup and it might have well been the last time we say him play an ICC event. The tributes can come later; right now we need to figure out that whom will India replace him with.

Rahane, Manish Pandey or Pawan Negi are the options available. MS Dhoni isn’t a big fan of Rahane in the middle order in T20s. He feels Rahane doesn’t have the capability to rotate strike during the middle overs, which is a very apt concern. And thus he is all but ruled out. So it comes down to Pawan Negi and Manish Pandey. Both have their advantages. While Manish can bolster the underfiring Indian middle order, Negi can provide MS with that extra bowling option in case one of his premier bowlers get a tonking.

But Negi is not a proper batsman and thus his inclusion takes some spine off the already fragile middle order. And Pandey’s inclusion leaves the bowling department a little short of options. The fate of the game and our fantasy teams rests with the Indian selection committee.

 

Case 1: Negi plays(Transfer in Negi and Jadeja)

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If Pawan Negi plays, he gets a free pass into my team. The young Indian southpaw will bowl at least 3 overs and can be used down the order for his big hitting skills. Also, he comes in for a price of just 60k which makes him all the more attractive as most of the ‘big shows’ for this game are worth more than 100k.

For the last 2 spots, I go with Jonathan Charles and Sir Jadeja. The only left-hander in the top 7 is Gayle and once India get rid of him, Jadeja gets to have a go at all the right handers and thus should be amongst the wickets.

I only have 70k left after this and the only West Indian that I fancy at that price is Jonathan Charles. He opens the batting and thus that gives him a good chance to score big when the ball is new and hard.

Case 2: Manish Pandey plays(If West Indies bat first transfer in Simmons and Pandya, If India bat first transfer in Pandey and Nehra)

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Considering all the previous substitutions, I have 220 k in the bag for the remaining three players. As there is no player available for 60k(as Negi isn’t playing), I cannot go for a player who is worth more than 80k. And that too, I can bring in just one player worth 80k(and two worth 70k)

If West Indies bat first, I get in Lendl Simmons. He bats in the top 3 and though he could be a bit rusty after the injury layoff, his knowledge of the Wankhede could come in very handy.

So, with 140k left in the kitty, I can bring in two players worth 70k each.

The best possible picks would be Jonathan Charles, Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya.

I have to get in one West Indian in my team for sure and thus Charles comes in by default.

For the last spot, I go with Hardik Pandya as Manish Pandey could find it a little tough in a chase and Dhoni could promote himself up the order to prevent the pressure from getting to the youngster.

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But if West Indies bat second, I leave out Simmons as he could find it tough to get going against the spinners and the score board.

I would then get in Manish Pandey, Ashish Nehra and Jonathan Charles.

Nehra has been phenomenal upfront and even in the death overs. And while chasing a total the West Indian batsmen could find it tough to score against him.

Captain for this game: Virat Kohli

Quantify your cricketing judgments: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Semi Final-1

ICC-T20

Few would have predicted Australia and South Africa to not make it to the last 4 of this World Cup, especially when more than half of their players are mainstays of their respective IPL franchises. But hey, when did history and big names start deciding the outcomes of cricket games?

England vs New Zealand

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New Zealand have examined the pitches like hawks and have come up with bold changes to their sides in order to adapt to the Indian conditions. Southee and Boult, who were at the helm of New Zealand’s last World Cup campaign have had to be content with just carrying the drinks this time round. First time visitors, Santner and Sodhi have been impeccable. Guptill has been amongst the runs and Williamson scored a gritty 45 in the last game. But it’s the middle order which hasn’t been tested yet and that would be a concern for the Kiwi management.

Corey Anderson hasn’t come off as of now and Ross Taylor has looked out of sorts. New Zealand would hope that the big stage brings out the best in these two stalwarts, as England wouldn’t be pushovers.

This new crop of English players has changed the way England approach the white ball format. They are fearless, they are innovative and they are hungry for success.

Root has been instrumental in them reaching this far and Buttler’s innings of 60 odd in the last game to ensure qualification for the English. Hales and Joy have given quick starts but haven’t been able to really kick on. The bowling seemed all over the place in Mumbai but I think it had more to do with the pitch than the ability of the bowlers. They have picked themselves up and have performed well in the last 3 games.

Coming into this game, I somehow feel the England team would be feeling a little more confident than the Kiwis as England have played two games at the Kotla. But then New Zealand’s biggest strength in this tournament has been their ability to quickly adapt to the conditions, which almost nullifies England’s advantage.

Let’s get to the team set up now

As we have 10 transfers, I’ll be going with 8 players in the first game(four from each side) and then 3 from the next game(2 from India and one from West Indies)

Phase 4 has three games and the Fantasy creators have been generous enough to give us the luxury of having ten transfers for these games. Although I do feel that it takes out a little bit of the strategy quotient out of the equation when you provide managers with a lot of transfers, but then we are mere puppets with no say in the rules of the game.

The first player I bring in for this game is Jos Buttler. He scored a brilliant 66 in the last game at Delhi and he also solves the wicketkeeper problem. Dhoni and Ronchi bat too low to have any significant fantasy potential. Charles does bat up the order but I don’t think he will be of much use against the spin of Jadeja and Ashwin.

My next pick would be Joe Root who has been amazing in this tournament with the bat and is England’s Virat Kohli. A batsman who uses technique more than force to get his runs, Root should be amongst the runs on a tricky Delhi wicket.

I omit Hales because scores of 0,17 and 28 do not warrant a selection at this critical juncture. Roy has been in better form then Hales but he has had his share of problems playing spin and against the spin trio of New Zealand, I do not expect him to fair too well.

Coming to the English bowlers, I pick Wiley and Rashid. Wiley has picked up 6 wickets in the tournament despite playing two games at the Wankhede, which speak volumes of his exploits on the other grounds. He bowls up front and at the death which gives him a good chance to pick at least 2 wickets. I pick him over Jordan because Jordan hasn’t got the control that Wiley possess and could go for a lot of runs (his economy rate is 8.76).

My next and last pick from the England side would be based on the pitch report. If it seems like a turning track, I would go with Rashid but because some grass has been laid on the surface for this game (to bind the pitch together), I mostly will go with Liam Plunkett. He bowls miserly and could use his height to good advantage to extract something out of the pitch.

Coming to the Kiwis, my first pick would be Martin Guptill. If the pitch stays true, this man can take the game away from the English in no time. At this stage, I cannot afford to leave him out.

The Delhi track has generally been on the slow side and in order to tackle that I bring in Williamson who has the best technique in the New Zealand team and his man of the match performance in the last game on a difficult batting track is proof of that.

Michael Santner and Ish Sodhi have come out of nowhere to absolutely haunt their oppositions in the World Cup until now. And I do not see that changing on an inherently slow Kotla track. Also, the fact that England have 4 right handed batsmen in their top 4 further strengthens their cause for selection.

But, if during the pitch report, it suggests that the track wouldn’t offer much turn and that New Zealand will bat first, I would get Corey Anderson in for Ish Sodhi (remember this will cause of a 20k rise in team price).

Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Dwayne Bravo make up my eleven for this game.

Kohli’s selection is of no dispute. Bumrah bowls at the death and though the West Indians boast of some power hitters, I wouldn’t fancy them too much against Bumrah’s toe crushers.

The last player that makes up my squad is Bravo. A trusted death bowler, he can come in handy against an unsettled middle/lower order. (If you bring in Corey instead of Ish, go for Suleimann Benn instead of Bravo as I’ll anyway transfer him in the next game).

Apart from Bravo you could also go with Russell as both of them offer similar fantasy possibilities. You wouldn’t be able to go for Gayle as of now because of the budget constraints but with 10 transfers for this phase, you’ll easily get him in for the game against India.

Captain for this game: Jos Buttler (if England bat first)/ Michael Santner(if New Zealand bat first)

Quantify your cricketing judgements: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Day 19

 

ICC-T20

‘Pressure’ is often thought of as something that ruins a career, a life, a dream. A host of people have fallen prey to it and are probably right in judging ‘pressure’ that way.But every once in a while it gives birth to a Virat Kohli and probably atones for all the sins it has committed towards other mere mortals.

So, on behalf of everyone who has ever had to face failure due to ‘Pressure’, we forgive you and thank you for giving us Virat Kohli.

You often take things for granted in your life and in course of time stop appreciating them because they are so easily accessible or are always there with/around you. I fear we could end up having the same sort of feeling for Virat’s brilliance during chases.

He has certainly evolved as a cricketer and as a person. He trusts his ability and the hard work that he puts in during training sessions on and off the field and that is what keeps him calm during these pressure situations. He wants to win games for India, he wants to be the there till the end, he wants to be the best and that desire is what sets him apart from the rest.

Also, a big shout out to the Afghan team who finally went one step ahead and converted their good performances into a victory. They probably were too tired of just winning hearts.

Let’s get to business now!

 

Sri Lanka vs South Africa

Transfers: 2

Transfers out: Virat Kohli, Steve Smith

Transfers in: ABD, Imran Tahir

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We have reached the last game of Phase 3. Phew we have come a long way!

I already have Rangana Herath in my side and have just two transfers left.

Let’s just get some basic things sorted about this game.

You need to use all your transfers for this game as you’ll be getting unlimited transfers for the knockout stages (Phase 4). Also, this is a dead rubber and hence both teams could make a few changes to their playing eleven. So, do lock your teams in only after the toss.

We are back to Delhi for this game and by now you all know what to expect from the pitch there. It is going to be dry, slow and sluggish. So, I bring in Imran Tahir to exploit these conditions and haunt the predominantly right-handed Sri Lankan top order.

Now, with only one transfer remaining, I would have to pick between ABD and Jefferey Vandersay.

Jefferey Vandersay could be a handful on this pitch provided he bowls with control, which didn’t quite happen in his last game. He eventually ended up picking two wickets but his bowling wasn’t as threatening as I would like it to be on a Delhi track. And thus I leave him out

The other day Butler showed us that if you are good enough, the slow Delhi track wouldn’t hinder your stroke play. And guess who is at the same level if not better than Butler when it comes to striking it big? AB de Villiers.

I get him in as my last transfer because, well, you know how dangerous he can be on his day. And I bet he would love to sign off with a big innings.

But I bring him in only if South Africa bat first, because with Mathews injured, I don’t think there is much spine in the Sri Lankan batting line up. And they could succumb to a low total.

In that case I would bring in Quinton De Kock who has been in good touch in this tournament and could score the bulk of the runs at the top of the order in a small chase. His wicket keeping skills provide me with an additional scoring opportunity as well.

I omit all other Sri Lankan players because they are just not good enough and Imran and ABD have far more potential as fantasy and as cricketers

Captain for this game: AB de Villiers

Quantify your cricketing judgments: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Day 18

ICC-T20

Afghanistan vs West Indies

Transfers out: Shakib Al Hasan, Adil Rashid

Transfers in: Samuel Badree, Rashid Khan

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Another day and another dead rubber. But probably this game would prove to be the perfect appetiser for the game in the evening (India vs Australia).

Few people would have put their money on Afghanistan toppling Zimbabwe and reaching the Super 10s and even fewer would have expected the rather erratic West Indian side to reach the semi final with one game to spare.

Both these teams have played some inspiring cricket and though the table doesn’t suggest that for Afghanistan, they would proud of the way they have carried themselves throughout the tournament, almost pulling of a win against England!

I already have Chris Gayle and Suleimann Benn in my side for this game.

Now, the Nagpur surface will offer turn and seeing that Afghanistan have 7 right-handers in their top 7, Benn could prove to be a handful. I am extremely tempted to bring in Badree as well but I have to wait for the exact pitch report tomorrow, as I can’t use a lot of transfers for this game. If the pitch again suggests a lot of turn, I will have no option but to get Badree in.

The West Indians aren’t great players of spin either and hence I think Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi both could have a big say in the outcome of the game tomorrow. Believe me it won’t be a walk in the park for the Windies.

I go for Rashid Khan this time instead of Nabi because his leg spin would cause a lot of problems to the predominantly right handed West Indian top order. But I certainly won’t transfer him in if Afghanistan bowl second as they could be bowled out for a paltry score while batting first and thus he wouldn’t have too many runs to work with.

I don’t expect West Indies to tinker too much with their playing eleven but if Badree sits out, I will bring in Dwayne Bravo!

Captain for this game: Chris Gayle

 

India vs Australia

Transfers out: Chris Gayle, Joe Root, Michael Santner

Transfer in: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith

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 Sit down with your friends, order some pizza, wear your jersey and just get ready to witness what could be the game of this tournament.

These two sides are extremely evenly matched and with Australia’s last win against Pakistan they would certainly believe that they could give the Indians a run for their money in their own backyard. The mind games have already begun with Mitchell Johnson tweeting about how Virat Kohli went missing during the semi final of the 2015 World Cup.

The Twitter rants along with the Mauka mauka ads have contributed in a big way to the build up of this game but come Sunday evening, it will be the team that handles pressure better, that will progress.

I already have Usman Khawaja in my side for this game.

My first transfer for this game would be Virat Kohli. He is the man for the big occasion and on a flat Mohali deck, he could make his bat do all the talking (as opposed to his Twitter account).

For this game too I go for Rohit instead of Ashwin because of the fact that Mohali is a flat deck and Rohit has always been a flat track bully. Also, Ashwin can give me 2 wickets at max but if Rohit goes big, he would give you bucket loads of points. I just feel tomorrow would be his day.

Shane Watson’s new role as a floater restricts his fantasy potential and hence I leave him out. Finch was looking out of sorts in the last game and thus he misses out too. Warner has done anything of note in this tournament and I would have gotten him in if I had more transfers, but he’ll have to sit out for now.

That brings me to Maxi and Steve Smith. Now, the only reason I even consider Steve Smith for this game is his last performance against Pakistan at the same ground 2 days ago and the fact that he has always relished batting against the Indian attack.

Glenn Maxwell also fancies the Indian bowling but his fantasy potential drastically reduces if Australia bat second. Also, his record at Mohali isn’t that great and thus I avoid the temptation of bringing him in.

I leave out the Indian bowlers because they could at max give me a wicket or two and at the end of a phase I don’t think that would be enough. Same goes for the Australian bowlers. They are not threatening enough and on a flat Mohali deck I don’t expect them to come away much to show.

Captain for this game: Virat Kohli

Quantify your cricketing judgments: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Day 17

ICC-T20

People still label the Pakistan team as ‘unpredictable’ (myself included). But on further contemplation I feel they are the most consistent side. They always impress at the start of the tournament, then start fighting among themselves and then head back home. Someone needs to step up and sort things out in the Pakistan camp and that has to happen soon or it could take them a long time to become World-beaters again.

And then we come to our second most consistent team, South Africa. Always swamped with superstars, always threatening to win the tournament but somehow always finding a way to lose. Today’s loss to West Indies means that they would have to win their game against Sri Lanka and then hope for Lanka to beat England and then somehow sneak in to the knockouts with the help of their run rate.

West Indies on the other hand have secured their place into the knockouts and Australia have ensured that their final league game against India would be a quarterfinal.

A double header awaits us again. Let’s get to business!

 

Bangladesh vs New Zealand

Tranfers out: ABD, Imran Tahir

Transfers in: Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson/Ish Sodhi 

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I already have Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rehman and Michael Santner in my team for this game.

This is a dead rubber and I hope both captains do no try and test their bench strength. Bangladesh have been knocked out and might want to give the players warming the benches some World Cup experience but I don’t think the kiwis would want to tinker with a winning combination. So, make your transfers only after the toss.

This game will be played in Kolkata and we can expect a rank turner especially in the second innings.

Apart from Ish Sodhi, I don’t think I would want to get any other New Zealand bowler into my team because none of them have been consistent so far.

I bring in Ish Sodhi only if New Zealand bowl second because the surface will assist him more then and I would rather save the transfer if New Zealand bowl first.

Guptill scored a brilliant 80 odd the last time round and when he is on song he can take the game away from the opposition. Kane Williamson is someone who is consistent but he won’t cause you much damage if you leave him out. Also, until now only 11.6% of the managers have gone in for him while a whopping 55.2% have gone for Guptill. So, you would lose a lot of ground if Guptill goes big and you don’t have him in your side. And thus I get Guptill in.

Corey Anderson hasn’t had a very good time with the bat but he has been very effective with the ball and I surely get him in if New Zealand bat first. But if New Zealand bat second, the Bangladesh spin attack could prove to be a lot to handle for Corey.

I have already given my reasons for leaving out Kane and Ross Taylor bats too low to make an impact. Tamim Iqbal is a notable exclusion because he hasn’t been in good touch in the Super 10s and against a good spin bowling attack I wouldn’t want to waste a transfer on him.

Mustafizur too hasn’t found his groove with the ball and leaks too many runs. Also, I can’t transfer out any more players from my team at this stage because of almost every player plays a match in the next day or two!

Captain for this game: Shakib Al Hasan

 

 Sri Lanka vs England

Transfers out: Martin Guptill. Corey Anderson

Tranfers in: Joe Root, Rangana Herath

 

 

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This game is being played in Delhi you could expect the slow bowlers to play a huge role in this game.

I already have Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid in my side for this game.

The first player I bring in Rangana Herath. He has taken 17 wickets in 15 T20 internationals at an average of just 19.33 and the Delhi wicket will play into his hands. Also, the fact that England have four right handers in their top 5 would make things easier for Herath.

The other Sri Lankan bowler that interests me is Jefferey Vandersay. He had a brilliant last game but his T20 stats (2 wickets in 5 games) are not that great and hence I leave him out!

No other Sri Lankan player seems that trustworthy and this point and I would want to save transfers for consistent players rather than pick a player now and hope for them to perform.

The only English player that I pick is Joe Root, who for me is technically adept to play spin and pace and could anchor the England side to a good total tomorrow!

 Captain for this game: Adil Rashid/Rangana Herath(depeding on whichever team bowls second)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantify your cricketing judgements: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Day 16

ICC-T20

Only sport can write such scripts, only sport can give such emotion and only sport can make a billion hearts beat together.

When Mushfiqur hit that lap shot for four in the last over, it felt like we had been sent back in time to the 2007 ODI World Cup. But anxiety and pressure can script plot twists like no great mystery writer can.

Hardik and the Indian team held their nerve. Mushfiqur and Mahumudullah didn’t, they went for glory. And that led to their downfall. No Indian fan will forget this day for a long time.

So after a well-deserved Holi break, let’s get down to business!

 

Pakistan vs Australia

Transfers: 2/3

Transfer out: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Corey Anderson(if Aus bat first)

Transfer in: Shane Watson, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell(if Aus bat first)

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So much depends on this game. If Pakistan lose they will be knocked out of the tournament and the India Australia game would become an essential quarter-final. But if Pakistan win, there could be a three-way tie in this group.

Now, I already have Mohammad Amir, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad in my team for this game and thus I will first concentrate on my options from the Australian team for this game.

The first player that I bring in is Shane Watson. This game is being played at Mohali, which has been one of the good batting surfaces in this tournament. He bats at the top of the order and bowls his four overs, a must to have on such a surface.

I have already explained why Smith is not a very good T20 player and hence I leave him out. Warner and Maxwell are way better in this format and you could even expect a demotion for Steve Smith tomorrow!

Khwaja has been brilliant in the first two games but I would still put more faith in Warner and Maxi as they have played more T20 cricket in India.

If Australia bat first, I bring in both Warner and Maxwell as I expect Australia to put a huge total on board. But if Australia bat second, I bring in just Warner because Pakistan’s unpredictable batting line up could have a major collapse and thus Maxwell’s batting wont be of much use.

Now, the problem I am having with bringing both of them in is that I have to transfer out Corey Anderson instead of Moeen Ali/Adil Rashid because of the cost constraint. And Corey plays one game before these two English players. So if you want to transfer out Corey you can bring both Maxi and Warner in but if you don’t want to then either you can get Khwaja in instead of Maxi or you can just save the transfer!

I don’t pick any bowlers on this track because it is a batsmen’s surface and at most you could end up getting a wicket or two, which is not enough at this stage of the tournament. I’d rather save the transfer.

Captain for this game: Shane Watson (For his all round capabilities)

 

South Africa vs West Indies

 Transfers: 4

 Transfer out: Shane Watson, David Warner, Corey Anderson/Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Amir

 Transfer in: Chris Gayle, ABD, Suleimann Benn, Imran Tahir

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This promises to be a cracker! West Indies and South Africa both have power hitters and both have some good spinners to exploit the conditions at Nagpur. The pitch for this game has been changed but Du Plesis feels that spin will still have a big role to play.

You need to understand that Nagpur has a really dry climate and with summer in full force, the pitches are bound to get even drier and assist spin even more. In all probability even the new pitch would assist spin and thus we will have to bring in the spin wizards from both teams into our Fantasy 11.

The first player that I bring in Imran Tahir because his skill with the ball has been on display not just on turning pitches in India but everywhere around the world. And you can only imagine how deadly he could be on a rank turner.

West Indies play two games in the space of four matches and thus it would be wise to bring in a few West Indians for this game.

The first West Indian that I bring in is Chris Gayle. West Indies play both their games in Nagpur and though the pitch would assist spin I just can’t take chances with Gayle going big in any of these games. It may sometimes look that he just bludgeons the ball but Gayle is a very intelligent batsmen. He knows which bowlers to play out and which to target. I can’t take the risk of not getting him in for two games!

Now, I also want to get ABD in because he is a great player against spin and nullifies the effect of spin by using his feet and getting to the pitch of the ball. Quinton De Kock is more of a flat pitch bully and wouldn’t have much success on this pitch. I ignore Amla and Du Plessis because I just want to get one South African batsmen in my team and ABD seems the best bet.

So now the only other West Indian player that I can get in is Suleimann Benn. The cost constraints prevent me for going with Bravo and Russell and I have to leave them out and hope that they do not make much of an impact. Bravo would at max chip in with two wickets and Russell could get a proper beating on this surface because he hits the deck hard and wouldn’t get much assistance from the surface.

Captain for this game: ABD(if South Africa bat first)/Imran Tahir(if South Africa bat second)

Quantify your cricketing judgments: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Day 15

ICC-T20

England vs Afghanistan

I have already given out almost all information and analysis about this game in my last article but just to reiterate. The Kotla track is known to be sluggish and does assist spin. England are not good players of spin and Afghanistan would like to catch them off guard on that front. Nabi, Rashid Khan and Shenwari are all capable of troubling the Englishmen. England will have to come out of the ‘Wankhede mode’ in order to successfully negotiate the Afghan challenge on a tough pitch.

So, according to my initial team setup, I have Root, Nabi, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in my team for this game. Considering that the Delhi pitch hasn’t been used in a long time, I have just gone in with 4 players and have relied on the traditional Kotla pitch behavior to select players for this game.

Root is England’s most technically sound batsmen and is a good player of spin. The other English batsmen in the top 4 are not that reliable and hence I leave them out for this one.

Adil Rashid is a brilliant T20 bowler and he bowled beautifully at the Wankhede. You can only imagine his impact on a pitch that will assist his bowling.

Mohammad Nabi is Afghanistan’s best player and gives me the double scoring option. When the South African batsmen were going berserk, he was the one who put a break on the scoring and also chipped in with a couple of wickets.

Moeen Ali has grown a lot as a spin bowler and has constantly delivered for his captain. And on a pitch that assists spinners, I find it safer to go with the bowlers than the batsmen.

I omit all Afghanistan batsmen because they haven’t ever played on a slow Delhi turner and I don’t expect any of them to do anything of note. Mohammad Shehzad did fire on all cylinders in Wankhede but that was a flat road(pitch). Don’t expect him to replicate that performance in Delhi.

The Afghan fast bowlers haven’t been great all throughout the tournament and to deliver on a pitch that doesn’t offer much assistance to them would be a lot to expect.

Hales, Roy and Morgan are batsmen who like the ball coming onto their bat and would find stroke play really difficult in Delhi. I don’t expect any of them to do anything of note or anything that could seriously hurt you if you don’t pick them for this game.

The England seam attack has been rubbish to say the least. I know the Wankhede pitch did not offer much to the bowlers but their radar just wasn’t correct and they were spraying the ball all around. I don’t expect that to change so soon.

Captain for this game: Adil Rashid

On a slow turning track, I expect him to wreak havoc.

 

India vs Bangladesh

Transfers: 3

Transfers out: Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Mohammad Nabi

Transfers in: Shakib Al Hasan, Rohit Sharma, Sabbir Rehman

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Bangladesh almost pulled of a win against Australia but thanks to their sloppy fielding they are now in a position where they have to win both their remaining games and also depend on other results to have any chance of making it to the semi finals.

Also, everything is not well in the Bangladesh camp because of Taskin and Sunny getting banned due to their bowling actions. But they will be boosted by the return of Mustafizur Rehman , who outwitted the Indian batsmen with his cleaver off cutters a few months back.

India on the other hand are coming off a good win against arch rivals Pakistan and would want to get a healthy win tomorrow in order to improve their net run rate.

The Bangalore pitch was on the slow side and did offer a lot of purchase to the spin bowlers.         Vandersay and Badree produced to excellent spells of spin bowling at the Chinnaswamy and I expect the spinners to play a huge role tomorrow as well.

I already have Virat Kohli in my side for this game.

Now, Bangladesh play twice in the space of four games and that tempts me to bring in at least two Bangladesh players for this game.

The first and the most obvious choice would be Shakib Al Hasan. He picked up 3 wickets in the game against Australia at the same ground and he has been amongst the runs too. You just can’t leave him out.

Now the other choices could be Mustafizur, Mahumudullah, Sabbir Rehman and maybe Al Amin Hossain.

I really want to get in Rohit Sharma for this game (I’ll give my reasons later). And thus in order to accommodate him I need to get a Bangladesh player who is worth 70 k or less and hence I go with Sabbir Rehman. He bats in the top 3 and bowls at least 2 overs of spin. He might even go onto bowl 4 overs in both the upcoming games as Bangladesh play their games on spin friendly wickets (Bangalore and Kolkata)

The reason I go with Rohit for this game is because he has an excellent record against Bangladesh. In the recently concluded Asia Cup too he scored a brilliant 81 against them. Also, according to the law of averages I expect him to score big tomorrow. Get him in because you wouldn’t want to miss out on a Rohit Sharma special!

I leave out Ashwin because of the cost constraint. And I also believe that teams have developed this defensive approach against Ashwin and try to play him out on most occasions. I believe he can at max chip in with two wickets. I am ready to take that risk!

I opt against going for Raina because of the cost constraint and because of his abysmal form. Bumrah could be a good pick but I would rather save the transfer at this stage.

Captain for this game: Virat Kohli

Happy team picking!

Quantify your cricketing judgments: ICC World T20 Fantasy tips Day 14

ICC-T20

For the next two games we have two new venues in Mohali and Delhi and it is important to know about the pitch conditions before we jump into the gruelling saga of whom to pick and whom not to.

The Mohali pitch has traditionally been a good batting surface. It normally has some grass on the surface to bind the pitch together, which helps in the ball coming on to the bat and doesn’t allow the pitch to disintegrate because of the heat. So, you need to go with batsmen who love playing through the line for this game (along with a few death bowlers maybe). But the important thing about all Indian pitches is that they are inherently spin friendly; some more, some less. This one is definitely on the less spin friendly side but who knows!

The Kotla track has always been some kind of an enigma. It sometimes plays into the hands of the batsmen and on other occasions it becomes hard to put bat to ball. But off late runs haven’t been very easy to come by. Expect totals of around 150 on this track. And as the game progresses, there is a bit more spin on offer. Keep that mind while making choices!

Now, let’s get to the initial team set up!

New Zealand vs Pakistan

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 This game will be played at Mohali and it should be a high scoring encounter. But you can never be sure when Pakistan is involved. On some days they could go from gear 1 to 5 in no time. On others, they would just completely forget about buying the fuel needed to even get their car started.

The two no brainers for this game are Mohammad Amir and Corey Anderson. Amir has been bowling beautifully since his return and has tested the batsmen in more ways than one. Corey bats at 4 and bowls his full quota of 4. On a track that would make stroke making easy, he could score big.

All the pitches so far have assisted spin, even the flat road (track) in Bangalore and thus I assume that spin will have a big role to play in Mohali as well. Thus, I bring in Michael Santner who could prove to be a big threat to the Pakistani top order as 6 of the top 7 are right-handers! And the fact that Santner comes in for just 70k further strengthens his cause for selection.

Now, amongst the New Zealand top 4, up against 3 high quality left handed seam bowlers, I would want to go with the most technically sound one. And that is Kane Williamson. I leave out Guptill because of the Mohammad Amir threat early in his innings. And I believe Williamson would be better at handling Amir. Munro looked completely out of sorts in both the games, playing ugly heaves and obnoxious swats across the line. I wouldn’t want to bank on him against a good bowling unit.

Mohammad Hafeez is a doubtful starter for this game and that makes me look at Umar Akmal(probably for the first time in my life). Now, you need to understand that Pakistan play two games in the space of 4 matches and thus it would help to get in at least two or three of them in your side (even if you feel they would end up losing because they would have two games before you transfer them out).

Pakistan have been reluctant to send him up the order but against India he did come in at number 4 and that could be signs of things to come. Get him in if Pakistan bat first. He also solves the wicketkeeper problem.

I am tempted to go for Imad Wasim here as well. The Pakistan team management made a huge blunder by not picking him on a spin haven in Kolkata and would be digging their own grave by not picking this bright young kid against New Zealand. But again you can never really know with Pakistan. Wait for the toss if you want to draft him in. But if you want to go for a third Pakistan player because of their two quick games, I would suggest Ahmed Shehzad. Pakistan play both these games at Mohali and the ball coming onto the bat could play into Shehzad’s hand. Also, the fact that he comes in for just 70k provides great balance to my team.

Ross Taylor bats too low and hasn’t really done anything of note for quite a long time. Sharjeel is a waste of time, money and whole host of other things. Afridi is too erratic to be worth 120k. Mohammad Irfan is not that effective in Indian conditions and Wahab Riaz just hasn’t found his rhythm yet.

Captain for this game: Corey Anderson

 The other players that make up my team are Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Nabi and Moeen Ali/Rashid Khan(depending on which team bowls second, i.e, if England bowl second, I get in Moeen Ali because the pitch will assist the spinners a bit more in the second innings).

England are not known for their spin playing abilities and the clash against Afghnaistan could prove to be a really stern test for them. The Afghans haven’t backed off from any challenge and I am sure would be itching to release their spin bowlers on the Englishmen.

England aren’t playing at the Wankhede anymore and that is why you need to adopt a different approach with them from now on. I go with Joe Root because he is the most technically sound batsmen in the England top 4. And because I am not quite sure as to how the Kotla will behave this time round, I am going with bowlers just to be safe.

Mohammad Nabi has been good with both bat and ball and is probably Afghanistan’s best cricketer and that is why I get him in.

And do I even need to justify Virat Kohli’s selection? If yes, then may god help you!