World Cup Fantasy Guru: The Perth twist
Bangladesh v Scotland
Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 36
Angelo Mathews out – Shakib Al Hasan in
Captain – Shakib Al Hasan
For obvious reasons, Shakib Al Hasan would be the first player to walk into my team for this fixture. Full quota of overs against a team that is not adept at playing spin and some quality batting, it can’t get better. The next best option would be Mushfiqur Rahim, but for reasons best known to the Bangladesh team management, he bats as low as No.7, which rules him out.
While Scotland do have some skillful bowlers, I really don’t see them running through the Bangladesh batting line-up and hence Rahim’s time at the crease is likely to be very limited. Mahmudullah has got a couple of starts so far in addition to picking up valuable wickets, but those aren't enough to force an inclusion for a one-off game.
When it comes to Scotland, you pick up Josh Davey, Alasdair Evans will be amongst the wickets; you pick up both of them, Richie Berrington will grab a 3-for. There really isn’t a better option out of these three considering Berrington bats higher up the order, and at the end of the day, it all comes down to how lucky you are. I am not ready to take that risk this time, so I have decided against picking any of the Scottish bowlers.
As far as the batting side of it is concerned, Kyle Coetzer and Matt Machan standout from the rest. Bangladesh, and in particular Mashrafe Mortaza, have shown that they have something to offer with the new ball, so picking Coetzer – who is more a Sehwag-type player – can backfire. Machan, on the other hand, has Mahmudullah’s off-breaks to deal with.
So, Shakib is not just the first player for this fixture but the only player as well. I understand that if one of the usual suspects (read: Davey, Machan) click, your team would fall back on the rankings, but that would only be a temporary setback. There are better opportunities to score. Just hang on!
India v West Indies
Transfers made – 2 (4); Transfers remaining – 34 (32)
David Warner out – Virat Kohli in
Mitchell Starc out – Umesh Yadav in
Shakib Al Hasan out – Andre Russell in (If Ind bat first)
Josh Hazlewood out – Ajinkya Rahane in (If Ind bat first)
Captain – Umesh Yadav (bowl first)/ Virat Kohli (bat first)
India may not have it as easy as some of you think they will, as the match is at Perth – which will suit the West Indies pace bowlers, especially if they bring in Kemar Roach as well. That eliminates both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who haven't really been tested in the World Cup so far. Virat Kohli would obviously make his way in. Umesh Yadav will get plenty of assistance from the deck, and the suspect West Indies batting order would only add to his fantasy potential; as a result, he gets a direct entry too.
I don’t trust any of the West Indian batsmen. Even if Chris Gayle escapes the Indian pace bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin, being an off-spinner, would pocket him. Lendl Simmons and Denesh Ramdin wouldn’t take the bowlers to task. They can, at best, return 100 points, which you wouldn’t miss much.
A choice has to be made between Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina. Raina would be tested with short deliveries, while Rahane plays the rising ball well. The Mumbaikar could be India’s deciding factor tomorrow. However, draft him in only if India bat first. If India bat second, they would likely be chasing 200-odd runs and I don’t see much of a role for Rahane. Also, he would be demoted in India’s next match, against Ireland, as well. So, it would be a waste of a transfer.
If West Indies bat second, you would need one of their bowlers, as India could lose wickets in an attempt to up the run rate. Depending on the team composition, pick one of Jason Holder and Andre Russell. While Holder’s height and lengths would be too much to handle for the Indian batsmen on this wicket, Russell always manages to get cheap wickets and could tonk a few lusty blows with the bat as well.
The reason I wouldn’t have a Caribbean bowler if India bat second is that the Men in Blue could easily be chasing a paltry total as mentioned before and, as a result, cross the line with not many wickets to fall.