The World T20 is here and with it the chance to show off your cricketing intellect in your peer group by excelling at the Fantasy league. In order to understand the importance of a Fantasy league in the life of an average Indian fan, Read this:
The tournament has been divided into four phases and the Phase 1, which constitutes of the qualifiers, has to be the toughest. The IPL has been instrumental in making Maxwell, ABD, Gayle and Warner household names but the players from the associate nations do not enjoy that popularity (in India). Hence, the complexity that is associated with this Phase 1 of the ICC Fantasy league. In addition to this challenge of dealing just with the associate nations for the first 6 days, we also have our hands full with the repelling appearance and the interface of the new Fantasy website. But do not let an ugly website suppress the innate desire to run and manage your team.
Now, the scoring rules clearly favour the bowlers and thus it is important that you stack your team up with Bowlers and All Rounders. If you pick batsmen, no matter what sort of big hitting reputation they have, only go with batsmen who are certain to bat in the top 4.
Group A- Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland, Oman
Group B- Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong, Afghanistan
Team for Day 1
Zimbabwe vs Hong Kong
Players worth considering in Zimbabwe- Hamilton Masakadza, R Mutugami, Sean Williams, W Masakadza, M Waller, Chatara
Players worth considering in Hong Kong- Babar Hayat, Mark Chapman, Tanwir Afzal, Aizaz Khan, Nadeem Ahmed, Haseeb Amjad
Hamilton Masakadza is the first player I bring in for this match. He is on quite a hot streak. Scoring runs at will and that too at a healthy strike rate of 130+. He has five scores of 30+ in his last 6 T20 Internationals. Ireland too had to face his wrath in the warm up game where he scored a quick fire 68.
Wellington Masakdza will be my second pick for this game. A slow left arm orthodox bowler can give you a lot of points in the slow turner at Nagpur. Also, Nagpur is one of the biggest grounds in India and with a mediocre Hong Kong batting lineup he is sure to chip away with wickets when the batsmen try and attack him.
Richmond Mutumbami would be my wicket keeper choice. He plays at number 3 and also sometimes opens the batting. His career strike rate is a poor reflection of his current form where he has been racking up runs at a good pace.
Nadeem Ahmed from Hong Kong is a very witty bowler and his slow left arm orthodox spin would be very handy at Nagpur. He has an average of 21.23 and an economy of 6.38 in T20 internationals. The Indian pitches would assist him even more and thus he is a must have.
Babar Hayat is a poor man’s Afridi(though his batting average is actually better than Afridi’s). From what I have seen and read, he is an explosive batsman who is ready to take the bowlers on but sometimes brings the ‘Lala’ swing in quite early. But I am ready to take a chance with him for the first game (He recently scored a 122 vs Oman in Fatullah)
Mark Chapman comes in at four and also bowls a bit of slow left arm spin. Again the Nagpur pitch and the fact that he bats at 4, warrant him a place in my side.
Captain for this game: If you want to play it safe you could go with either Wellington Masakadza or Nadeem Ahmed for this game depending on which team bowls second i.e , if Zimbabwe bowl second make Wellington Masakadza your captain. If you want to be a little adventurous you could captain Hamilton Masakadza.
Scotland vs Afghanistan
Players worth considering in Scotland – Matt Cross, Matt Machan, Richie Berrington, Preston Mommsen, Mark Watt.
Players worth considering in Afghanistan- Mohammad Shehzad, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan, Dawlat Zadran, Rashid khan, Gulbadin Naib, Samuillah Shenwari
Now, this game would be played at the Jamtha in Nagpur as well. So, it is very important to know that with the wear and tear caused in the first game, the spinners are bound to get more assistance in this game (considering there is not much dew in the evening).
Left arm spinners seem to be the way to go for Day 1 of the World Cup as I include another one in my team. Mark Watt has 11 wickets in 11 T20 internationals and with the track assisting him; he can give you at least 2 wickets.
Afghanistan has a potent bowling line up and the wickets are generally shared between Rashid Khan and Dawlat Zadran. I am going with both of them in my team. Rashid is a leg spinner who has been performing well off late and Dawlat has picked up an impressive 33 wickets in 24 T20 internationals.
Mohammad Shehzad also makes the cut. He is Afghanistan’s Sehwag. An explosive opening batsman who averages 29.35 in T20s., if he gets going, Scotland won’t have much of a chance in this game.
Now, I have left out all rounders like Matt Machan, Richie Berrington and Mohammad Nabi because their current form doesn’t suggest they are going to do that well. Berrington comes in at 5 and bowls an average of 3 overs but I don’t think he will be that effective in Indian conditions. Machan is a talented batsmen but his form off late has been abysmal to say the least. Nabi too has been off his mark for quite some time and thus I leave him out too.
Captain for this game: Against a Scottish side who traditionally struggle against spin, I would go with Rashid Khan as my captain (subject to the amount of due). If not him, you could go ahead with Dawlat Zadran or Mohammad Shehzad.
Note: You could drop Babar Hayat and go for a Scottish Allrounder or Nabi as Hayat doesn’t seem that reliable.
Start racking your brains up, wear your thinking caps and play the fantasy league for the love of the game.
Check this space out tomorrow for tips on whom to select and whom to absolutely ignore for your Fantasy team because this is your only chance to quantify your cricketing judgments and predictions (well, the only legal one).