World Cup Fantasy Guru: A battle of swing bowlers and the Masakadza-Taylor conundrum
The first three matches of the week have been relatively better with my powerplayers – Chris Gayle, Trent Boult and Shakib Al Hasan – getting in decent points. While my previous article had Kane Williamson as the powerplayer for the New Zealand-Scotland match, I had to change it to Boult at the last minute, as the Kiwis were bowling first and Scotland were in danger of getting bowled out cheaply; as it turned out, that is exactly what happened.
It is always advisable to have a bowler as your powerplayer in such a scenario, as the associate teams could fall in a heap any moment and even if one of the opposition’s openers manage to score heavily while chasing down a low total, it is highly unlikely that he will end up as the Man of the Match.
I did say that Lendl Simmons is the best Caribbean batsman at the moment, based on form, but with him batting at No.6 and that too against a weakened Ireland bowling unit, I didn’t quite expect him to have so many overs to bat. Thanks to the terrible Windies top order collapse, he did. However, that Gayle fared better than the usual suspects – Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels – helped to an extent.
As I write, Shakib has reached his half-century. I hope he goes on, scores more and picks up a few wickets. This article will deal with the next two matches: Zimbabwe-United Arab Emirates and England-New Zealand.
Zimbabwe v United Arab Emirates
Transfers made – 1; Transfers left – 35
Shakib Al Hasan out – Hamilton Masakadza in
The biggest and the only decision as far as the first match is concerned is whether to take both Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor or only one of them. Both of them are in good form and have a secondary role, bowling and wicket-keeping respectively, to add value. However, overdoing minnows has backfired a number of times earlier, as they are not dependable.
So, I have decided to settle with Masakadza. There is very much nothing to choose between the two, though. And I don’t really see a United Arab Emirates player who could return decent points.
England v New Zealand
Transfers made – 1; Transfers left – 34
Hamilton Masakadza out – James Anderson in
Captain – Boult/Anderson/Williamson
Coming to the England-New Zealand encounter, with three Kiwis in Williamson, Ross Taylor and Boult already in the side, I don’t see the need for any other player from the side. Taylor’s no-shows have hurt badly; I can only hope he turns it over with a masterclass against England. The chances of it happening are pretty high, as the English pace bowling is likely to make short work of the Kiwi opening duo.
Steven Finn is the only England player in my side. With England set to play Scotland next, James Anderson is likely to be amongst points. Boult wreaked havoc against Scotland, whose top order batsmen failed to read his swing. Same could be the case with Anderson and that Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill don’t play swing any better only improves the chances of him getting wickets. So, I rope him in.
Ian Bell is a tempting option, but he will be up against a world class bowling attack, which can get the better of him. James Taylor, despite his 98* against Australia, wouldn’t make it to my side, as he is a misfit in his new position: No.6. You don’t expect him to do what he did again and again.
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