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 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)
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)
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.
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