Another match in New Zealand, another batting collapse, another lopsided encounter.
The Pakistan team have made a swift transition from being ‘the unpredictables’ to being ‘the miserables’. A horrendous batting display by the top order which reduced them to a score of 1 for 4 while chasing a target of 311 just goes to show how deep in the ditch is the Pakistani side.
They seem to be unsure about everything, their first eleven, their batting order and more so about the conditions. They have failed to adapt to the conditions and even their unpredictability seems to be evading them, they are predictably pathetic these days.
For the Windies this win would be huge psychological boost. Coming off a tough loss against the Irish, the Windies did what they do best, send the ball out of the park on a regular basis. Smith and Gayle did not come to the party, but the lower middle order rose to the occasion, with Russell just toying with the bowlers in the end, sending some meaty blows to all parts of the ground.
And then the bowling just blossomed. The Pakistani batsmen had no clue what struck them and they surrendered meekly in the end. Akmal and Maqsood offered some resistance but the damage at the top needed a miraculous performance by the lower order which as usual did not happen for the Pakistanis.
Pakistan need to do some soul searching, they need to reflect back on their performances, assess them and then come out with some concrete and bold solutions. West Indies on the other hand have something to work with now. Victories against Zimbabwe and U.A.E. would cement a quarter final berth for them but then again can they remain consistent? We’ll soon find out.
Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka
It is a big day tomorrow. Most of the cricket fans would be drooling over the India vs South Africa fixture but for a Fantasy manager the Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka fixture hold the key. This is where we can get the points.
Remember that the first stage is just till the 21st game i.e between India and U.A.E.
Sri Lanka play two matches before the 21st game and both matches against oppositions they are expected to overcome easily(Afghanistan and Bangladesh). Thus it is only wise if you build your side around the Sri Lankans. Also, you can transfer out the Pakistanis as they do not play another game in Stage 1.
Now, I already have Sangakkara in my side for this game. The other players who I consider can add value to your team are Kulasekra, Thirimanne, Herath and maybe Malinga.
Dilshan does not have the technique to play the swinging ball, Sangakkara is a better pick than Jayawardene and Mathews plays a bit too low and does not bowl his full quota. He somehow under uses himself.
Kulasekra is a an out and out swing bowler and the Afghans as well as the Bangladeshis would have a hard time negating the swing that he produces. He is a must have for these two games.
The other bowling spot can be acquired by either Herath or Lakmal. If Afghanistan bat first, I advise you to get in Lakmal but if Sri Lanka bat first, Herath would be the one to go with. The reason being that the freshness of an early morning wicket would assist Lakmal but in the second innings Herath with his smart spin bowling would be more of a threat to the inexperienced Afghan batsmen.
I am tempted to get in Thirimanne for this game as well but only if Sri Lanka bat second. Again the reason being the initial swing could trouble him and he could get out for a sub-par score. But if Sri Lanka bat first, get Jayawardene in, he and Sangakkara can thrive and feast on the Afghan bowling attack.
Afghanistan did not inspire much confidence the last time they played and their players are not expected to fetch you a lot of points and hence I have opted to go without any Afghanistan player.
The toss, in New Zealand conditions is a very important thing to consider. If you can, set your alarm clocks for 3:15 a.m and just check the outcome of the toss and make any changes, if required.
Power Player pick
Nuwan Kulasekra is my power player for this game.
Trump Card for this game
Rangana Herath is my trump card for this game.
India vs South Africa(The devil’s game)
Any game involving India is a tricky game for an Indian fantasy manager. You tend to get carried away and stuff you team with Indian players. A few do deserve a spot but picking a bowler from the Indian team just because it’s India would be suicidal.
South Africa clearly have the upper hand for this game. They have never lost a World Cup encounter to India(We might have a ‘mauka’ this time) and are playing some brilliant cricket. The Zimbabweans did put them in a spot of bother in the last game but then too they came out as comprehensive winners and that is what champions do. Even when the other side is playing the best it possibly can, champions raise their level and give them a fair beating.
I expect tomorrow’s game to be a high scoring encounter. Both sides have a strong batting line up and the Melbourne pitch would be a good track to bat on. Expect at least 600 runs in tomorrow’s game(unless of course the Indian batting line up do a Pakistan).
Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla walk into my side. I am bringing in Amla for two reasons, one ,because India have always struggled to get him out and two , because I have a price constraint and cannot go with ABD.
Rohit Sharma is a player for the big occassion too(just like Virat Kohli) and I get him in for Thirimanne/Jayawardene. He was looking confident against Pakistan but was dismissed due to lapse in concentration, but on a big day like tomorrow he would come out all guns blazing.
Suresh Raina performed brilliantly in the last game but again his susceptibility to the short ball and the long boundaries at the MCG are the reasons for his omission.
Ajinkya Rahane bats too low down the order and does not have a fixed batting position as such and thus I can’t gamble on him. Duminy and Miller too come far too down the order to make any significant contribution because it is not everyday that South Africa find themselves at 74-4 with more than three fourth of the overs left to play.
Power Player pick
Virat Kohli is my Power Player for this match.
Trump Card for this game
Hashim Amla is my trump card for this game.
The last six days have been amazing for my fantasy side and I hope it stays the same the same for the rest of the tournament. The picks that I take are based more on analysis than intuition and I believe that is the way forward if you want to have any shot of claiming the top prizes. Do check out this space for tomorrow’s analysis and fantasy tips.
Happy team picking.