Who could have predicted this?
3 men from a foreign land, coming to India and bamboozling the Indian batsmen at something they pride themselves in; playing spin bowling.
The utter lack of application from the Indian batsmen combined with a brilliant display of spin bowling from New Zealand’s spin trio led to India’s nightmarish start to the World T20. Barring Kohli and Dhoni not one batsmen seemed to have the determination to stick it out in the middle. Santner and Ish Sodhi bowled beautifully, tossed the ball up, surprised the batsmen with arm balls and just thrived in conditions suitable for spin bowling.
The New Zealand team will rejoice and the Indian team would contemplate. There is very little that we can do about things that aren’t in our control. So let’s get back to the one thing that is very much under our control during the World Cup, making wise and well-informed fantasy team selections.
Bangladesh vs Pakistan
The new Asian giants take on Pakistan in Kolkata for the second game of the Super 10s. Bangladesh emerged victorious in their last meeting in the Asia Cup and with the match practice they have had before this game, they would be hoping to get past a depleted Pakistan side. Pakistan on the other hand have had to deal with political issues in order to even have the opportunity to participate in this game and would want to brush aside the political equation with an inspired performance against the in form Bangladesh side
So, I have already transferred in players for this game. I have Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Amir, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rehman and I Wasim for this game
Tamim has been in incredible touch this tournament and has played authoritative and destructive innings every time he has stepped on the pitch. It is imperative that you get him in because Pakistan’s seam attack wouldn’t get much purchase from the Eden wicket and on a flat deck, there are few who are better than Tamim at striking the ball.
Shakib has time and again proven that he is a must to have in your side. And especially at Eden Gardens, where he has played most of his T20s(as part of Kolkata Knight Riders). He is a constant at number 4 in the batting order and always bowls is quota of 4 overs. A minimum of 100 points guaranteed.
Sabbir Rehman was the player of the series in the Asia Cup and with a price tag of just 70k he gives great balance to my team. Coming to bat at number 3 and getting 2 overs every game is real good deal(for 70k). The Eden gardens should assist his style of batting and his slow off spinners.
Imad Wasim is going to be Pakistan’s trump card this tournament. The left arm spinner has been amazing in the domestic circuit in Pakistan and took 3 wickets in the Warm up game against Sri Lanka at Eden gardens. Signs of things to come when Pakistan play Bangladesh at the same venue? I think so! Also, he comes in with a price tag of just 60k and provides good balance to my team.
Pakistan’s bowling spearhead, Mohammad Amir is my final pick for this game. The best thing about him is that he gets to bowl 2 overs in the final 4, which exorbitantly increases his chances of picking up wickets.
I leave out almost all Pakistan batsmen because of the ever-changing batting order. Mohammad Hafeez could be a good pick because he will feature in the top 3, but his T20 average of 22 with a strike rate of just 113 doesn’t help his cause and hence I wouldn’t want to give him a spot in my team.
Sharjeel Khan seems to consider his bat to be a golf stick and swings it at any and everything. I wouldn’t trust him against any bowling attack; leave aside a good Bangaldeshi one.
Umar Akmal and Sarfaraz Ahmed bat too low down the order and I always refrain from taking batsmen that do not bat in the top 4.
Wasting a spot on Boom Boom Afridi is a cardinal sin. Do not do it. He isn’t dependable with the bat or the bowl and for some reason he comes in at a price of 120k. I know you can’t believe your eyes. Let’s move on.
I have covered all my bases with respect to Bangaldesh except maybe getting Al Amin Hossain. He has this funny knack of getting cheap wickets and it wouldn’t hurt much to get him in but I don’t see the point in wasting a transfer for this game. Pakistan are way too unpredictable and we just know that this ‘Bangladesh bubble’ could burst anytime. Also, Bangladesh play their next game on the 21st of March and hence I wouldn’t be getting any strategic advantage by getting a lot of Bangladeshi players in my side.
Captain for this game: Shakib Al Hasan/ Imad Wasim
If Bangladesh bat first, I would go with Shakib as my captain because the Eden Gardens pitch would be better for slow bowlers in the second innings and also the fact that he would be guaranteed a hit in the first innings.
If Pakistan bats first, I would make Imad Wasim my captain because of the spin he could extract from the Kolkata pitch in the second innings.
West Indies vs England
Transfers out: Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ashwin, Sabbir Rehman, Shakib Al Hasan
Transfers in: Joe Root, Alex Hales, Adil Rashid, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo
This should be an exciting contest between a team, which has heaps of IPL superstars and the other, which has been apprehensive from sending players to play in the IPL.
England have been playing exciting limited overs cricket off late and the new generation of players have gone on to play some fearless cricket. It could be the dawn of a new age in English cricket.
The West Indian cricket scene has been in the news for all the wrong reasons because of the board’s reluctance to give the players proper contracts (and money). They have however risen from that and they would be dying to use the IPL experience to their benefit in this World Cup.
I already have Jonathan Charles for this game (reasons explained in the previous article).
The Wankhede wicket is a batting paradise and barring some surprises, this should be a high scoring game. Get in the big hitters.
England play again in the space of two games and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stack your team up with this new breed of English cricket.
I get in three English players for this game. Alex Hales, Joe Root and Adil Rashid. I omit Jos Butler because he is often used as a floater by England and Hales and Root have better T20 averages (mid 30s) while Butler has an average of 23 in T20s. Adil Rashid is an exceptional T20 spinner and the he could trick the hard hitting West Indians with his array of variations. But if there are signs of dew, I would bring Butler instead of him.
All the other fast bowlers from the English side are omitted by me because of their career economies and also because the West Indians like the ball coming onto the bat and hence a spinner is a better choice against a hard-hitting opposition.
Gayle is an obvious choice from the Windies camp. He knows the Indian conditions better than most and if he isn’t on your team and scores big, you could all but forget about getting anywhere near the top 100 in the world (yes, that’s what I am aiming for).
For my next pick, I have to chose between Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell. While Andre Russell was last year’s MVP in the IPL, Dwayne Bravo is known for his death bowling exploits for the Chennai Super Kings.
Dwayne Bravo’s career record in T20s is far more superior to Andre Russell’s. Bravo averages 25 with the bat and strikes it at 125, whereas Russell has a meek average of 11 in T20s. Russell has also taken just 11 wickets in his 25 T20 internationals as opposed to Bravo’s 40 in 55 games. Also, Bravo has been batting at number 4 for the Windies, which tilts the bar move towards his side. But mind you, Russell has risen remarkably quickly in the T20 format over the last year and it could be a huge gamble to leave him out but I have to take the risk because of the paucity of transfers.
I leave out Sammy because he bats too low and sometimes doesn’t even bring himself on to bowl. I can’t bear with such uncertainty over a player’s involvement in the game.
Samuels has struggled in Indian conditions and failed to make an impact in the Warm up games as well. And with his bowling action being suspended, he doesn’t even provide me with an additional scoring option.
Captain for this game: Chris Gayle
He is a T20 legend and the Wankhede is a batsmen’s paradise and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get the first 100 of the World Cup tomorrow from the big Jamaican’s bat.
Check this space out tomorrow for the Day 9 fantasy tips. Happy team picking!