Whoever thought the Qualifiers would be a boring affair and did not tune into the Ireland and Oman game has only himself/herself to blame. What a chase it was by Oman and they have deservedly caught the attention of the cricketing world. The associates have come into this tournament with a lot of belief and confidence. They are playing some high quality cricket in the qualifiers and making it interesting for the viewers all around the world.
They have delivered on their promise, when will the ICC?
The Bangladesh Netherlands game was destined to be a close one too but the experienced Bangladesh side just about made it to the finish line in the end.
For me, Group B is getting really interesting and the next set of matches is sure to spring a surprise or two.
Getting to business now. Two games lined up for tomorrow and let’s get to the fantasy picks straightaway
Zimbabwe vs Scotland
Transfers out: Boyd Rankin
Transfers in : Tendai Chatara
Team for Zimbabawe vs Scotland
Players worth considering in Zimbabwe: Hamilton and Wellington Masakadza, Sean Williams, Mark Waller, Chatara, Panyangara, Elton Chigumbura
Players worth considering in Scotland- Matt Cross, Matt Machan, Richie Berrington, Preston Mommsen, Mark Watt, Evans
So, one thing that we learnt from the first set of matches in Nagpur is that it is a track that offers assistance to the slower bowlers and that you need to be Chigumbura in order to clear the park. The big boundaries make it harder for the batsmen to accelerate in the death overs.
So what kind of batsmen would flourish in such conditions?
The ones who look to maneuver the bowl and look for those big gaps in the outfield. Yes, there can be the odd Chigumbura like innings but then you can’t predict everything, can you?
For this game, I already have Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Sean Williams and Mark Watt in my team.
Now, from what I saw in the first two games in Nagpur, the death bowlers could get a few cheap wickets because of the batsmen going after them in the last four. So, apart from having spinners you need to have at least one death bowler in your team. While they could get milked in small grounds like Dharamshala and Bangalore, they will chip in with a wicket or two in Nagpur.
Now, I expect Zimbabwe to win this and thus I would go for one of their death bowlers rather than a Scottish death bowler(because of what Chigumbura could do to him).
Chatara seems a good choice. Not many would pick him and he generally bowls two in the last 4 overs, giving him a good chance to get 2 wickets at the least.
The only Scottish player that I would pick for this game is Matt Machan. He comes in at 4 and thus negates the initial trying spell from Panyangara and Tiripano. In the middle overs, when the spinners would be operating, he would have the luxury of facing two left handed spinners in Sean Williams and Wellington Masakadza.
But there is an asterisk there. Go with him only if Scotland wins the toss, because while chasing a high total (which I expect Zimbabwe’s strong batting line up to put on the board) he could fall while trying to up the ante.
Captain for this game: Hamilton Masakadza/Wellington Masakadza
If you want to play safe, go with Wellington. If you want to be adventurous, go with Hamilton.
Hong Kong vs Afghanistan
Transfers out: Mark Watt, Sean Williams
Transfers in : Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi
Team for Afghanistan vs Hong Kong
I expect Afghanistan to win this quite easily. I already have Mohammad Shehzad and Nadeem Ahmed in my side so I am looking at two more substitutions at max (could go win 1 as well)
If Afghanistan bat first, I would bring in Nabi for sure. He missed out in the previous game but coming in at 5 and then bowling his quota of 4 on a turning track, he is bound to give you at least 60 points.
Now, the conundrum is whether to go with Dawlat Zadran, Amir Hamza, Rashid Khan or a Hong Kong player?
I clearly rule out other Afghanistan batsmen because their career records suggest that either they play too slow for my liking or they are not good enough. Stanikzai played a painful knock of 50 in the last game and I don’t see him playing a big innings tomorrow because his stroke making isn’t good enough.
Tanvir doesn’t bowl at the death and thus I don’t expect him to strike up front in all the games and thus he misses the cut.
Afghanistan have a strong bowling line up for any Hong Kong batsmen to cause much damage and thus I rule out all the Hong Kong batsmen. Babar Hayat is the only one who could hurt you bad if he gets going but the spin of Rashid Khan and Amir Hamza and the pace of Dawlat Zadran would be enough to put him off his game.
I get in Rashid Khan for this game as he is an accurate leg spinner who will get good purchase from the Nagpur wicket. Dawlat misses out because of his bad spell in the last game and also because I can make only so many transfers. So, I have to hope he doesn’t find his form tomorrow.
Captain for this game: Rashid Khan/Nadeem Ahmed
Considering that there was not much dew at night in the first game, I would go with the spinner of the team that bowls second.
Check this space tomorrow for the Day 4 picks. Happy team picking
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