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England vs Afghanistan – A Pre Match Analysis

England along with India come into this year’s World Cup as one of the favourites to lift the title at the home of cricket. Paradoxically, the founders of the game have never won the coveted title.

This time though, they sit fourth on the table having lost one of four games, and possess the arsenal as well as the firepower to go one better and lift the title on their home turf. In this article, we will analyse the England team, who will be facing Bangladesh in their fifth match.

For most of the tournament’s 44-year history, the “Poms” (as they are called by their Australian rivals) have been useless. They last reached a final in 1992. At the previous tournament in 2015, the only teams they managed to beat were Scotland and Afghanistan, and were eliminated at the earliest opportunity.

But during the past four years England have focused on winning the coveted trophy which they have desired for so long.

Shortly after the 2015 debacle, the ECB appointed Trevor Bayliss, a head coach specialising in cricket’s short formats. Bayliss rebuilt the team around Eoin Morgan, its Irish-born captain and one of its most aggressive batsmen.

THE BATSMEN
One of the first changes to this improved England side has been the introduction of hard hitters who were previously considered too inconsistent. At the top of the order are Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, who drifted around the edges of the England set-up before 2015, but have now matured into the fastest-scoring opening pair in ODI history.

One of the first changes to this improved England side has been the introduction of hard hitters who were previously considered too inconsistent. At the top of the order are Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, who drifted around the edges of the England set-up before 2015, but have now matured into the fastest-scoring opening pair in ODI history.

Supporting them in the middle order is Ben Stokes, a gifted, yet controversial all-rounder who was omitted from the last World Cup squad after a poor run of form with the bat.

Alongside Morgan, the core of the middle order revolves around wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, one of cricket’s most innovative hitters, and Joe Root, the Test captain, who offers something of a cooler head. In the last four years, all three have scored their runs at least 10% more quickly than they did in the previous four years.

Where England once considered a total of 300 runs a good score, the team now looks for 350 or more. In fact they have scored 300 or more in 10 consecutive games. It was a measure of how eagerly the players bought into Bayliss’s explosive, attacking philosophy.

At the start of this tournament, England come in as the number-one ranking in ODI cricket and the world record for the highest score (481 against Australia last year). In 2019 so far they have scored boundaries 40% more frequently than the average ODI team.

But such aggression has a downside. Such aggressive batting carries considerable risk, because hitting with reckless abandon increases the odds of batsmen getting out in quick succession putting pressure on the ones below them.

However, England have enough capable sloggers in the team, including several bowlers, to get away with this perilous strategy most of the time. But occasionally it backfires spectacularly, with every single batsman getting himself out. In the last year England have endured the two biggest defeats in their history.

In October their total of 132 runs was 219 less than Sri Lanka managed in their innings, and in March the West Indies passed England’s score of 113 in just 12 overs and one ball.

So far, England have relied on Joe Root’s masterclass to lead the way with the bat. He is the leading run-scorer for his country with two hundreds already and his cool calm personality will be crucial to England’s success at this World Cup.

THE BOWLING ATTACK
The Achilles heel for England is a dearth of top-notch bowlers. Whereas the country has five of the world’s 20 highest-rated ODI players with the bat, it only has two of the top 20 with the ball: Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid. But although they both take a lot of wickets they also give away lots of runs.

Mark Wood is the other bowler who does bowl at a high pace, but his test form has not yet reflected in his ODI record. He still struggles at times with his line and length and has been a victim of inconsistency. He might get away with it against smaller sides, but his vulnerability will be exposed against better opposition like India or Australia.

In fact, the inability of the England bowlers to replicate the form of the batsmen have been so dire that the ECB has relaxed the eligibility criteria in order for England to select Jofra Archer, a Barbadian who has a British passport but has only lived in the country for three years. He bowls more quickly than any of England’s other options, and has honed his skills by playing in T20 leagues around the world. The hosts will need him to translate that success to ODIs if they are to win this tournament.

Liam Plunkett seems to be around forever, and finds his place in the side due to his ability to take wickets during the middle overs. He along with Adil Rashid and all-rounder Moeen Ali are burdened with the responsibility to keep on scalping wickets during the middle overs.

PREDICTIONS
One of England’s greatest strengths is their ability to bat deep. They end their batting with spinner Adil Rashid who has got two first class centuries to his name. If England can score big runs, then it will put fear in the minds of the other teams, knowing that they have to score a mammoth total.

My prediction is that England will reach the finals, but due to their lack of experience on how to win the big, crunch games, they will fall short of winning the World Cup.

New Zealand – The Dark Horses

The runners up in the previous world cup, New Zealand come into this World Cup as one of the dark horses. They might not be one of the big names in this tournament but they are the only side to have played three fixtures and won all three.

This New Zealand therefore requires some analysis as to how much of a threat they pose to the defending champions as well as the rest of the teams.

Opening Partnership

Martin Guptill & Colin Munro
Image Source: https://www.crictracker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Martin-Guptill-Colin-Munro.jpg


Openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro form a formidable opening pair. Munro on his day can be as explosive as any batsman.

However, New Zealand will be wary that Munro tends to misfire more often than be explosive. That inconsistency could be a problem in the bigger crunch games against better sides who will look to expose that vulnerability.

Martin Guptill on the other hand is far more assured and vastly experienced. Ever since the end of the 2015 world cup, Guptill has average 50.01 at a strike rate of 94.7.

He has scored nine centuries in the 61 games he has played, more than in the previous 108 games of his career. Guptill seems to be aging like fine wine and with the natural talent and elegance the man possesses, he will be a thorn in the side of the opposition.

Middle Order
Williamson averages 47.01 since the last World Cup, and is ranked equal 11th in the world. Although he hasn’t been as spectacular as Guptill and Taylor, he has still been extremely solid, scoring five centuries in that time.

Also, thanks to his IPL experience, he is much better at hitting, staying calmer and more professional, and no longer simply relies on being hard to get out.

Williamson & Ross Taylor
Image Source: https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/i/6/p/d/8/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.710×400.1i6pj1.png/1490916376339.jpg

Some might argue that Ross Taylor has a claim to being one of New Zealand’s finest one-day batsmen. At the start of the 2015 World Cup, Taylor had 12 ODI centuries at an average of 41.75. Since the 2015 World Cup, Taylor has averaged a phenomenal 68.85, with eight centuries.

His position as the greatest Kiwi one-day batsman ever is now certain, with Williamson the only possible challenger. His career average is now over 48, and if he continues in anything like the same form it will soon be 50.

Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson are the pillars of the New Zealand middle order and their form with the bat will play a huge role in how far NZ progress in this tournament.

All-Rounders
Though Jimmy Neesham has been in and out of the team in recent years, his recent World Cup performances suggest that he has found a good vein of form. Ever since his comeback to the side, he has played eight matches, he has averaged 68 with the bat and 22.90 with the ball. Incredibly clean hitting has been a feature of his presence in the middle order.

He has started the WC incredibly well and will look to cement his spot in the playing eleven.

Colin De Grandhomme
Image Source: https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/m/e/w/f/c/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.710×400.1mewgq.png/1508577935728.jpg

Colin de Grandhomme is a bit of an enigma in this Black Caps side. Despite being capable of massive hitting and incisive bowling, he remains a distinctly hit and miss player, especially with the ball.

He has only spent three seasons in the team, but has scored over 400 runs at an average of 29 and strike rate of 110. His all-round ability will certainly be an asset in this WC, along with his experience playing in the IPL.

The place of Daniel Vettori has been taken up unerringly by the spectacled Mitchell Santner who has cemented a place in the Black Caps ODI side thanks to frugal spin bowling and big hitting from the lower order.

Early last year he had an ODI bowling ranking of 7th, thanks to a truly miserly economy rate of 4.68 over his last 50 games. He also averages a handy 27.53 with the bat, and a more than handy 32.30 over the past two seasons.

At his favoured position of 8 he averages 37.73. More than adept with both bat and ball, Santner will be an asset to this New Zealand side if they are to win this WC.

The Bowling attack
Trent Boult
has solidly established himself as New Zealand’s premiere new ball bowler. He is rightly ranked 2nd in the world, behind only Jasprit Bumrah.

Trent Boult
Image Source: https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/m/e/w/f/c/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.710×400.1mewgq.png/1508577935728.jp

Since the end of the last World Cup, he has taken 107 wickets at an average of 24.59. Boult is getting some of his deliveries up to 145km/h, without losing any of the accuracy that he is known for. This makes him even more dangerous than before, and will be a threat to be reckoned with.

Matt Henry has taken 55 wickets since the last CWC, at an average of 29.72. Henry is currently ranked 14th in the world in ODIs, notably ahead of Dale Steyn (16th) and Mitchell Starc (22nd), and was in the top 10 last time he had an extended run in the side.

Along with fellow paceman Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult, they form a formidable trifecta of attacking fast-bowling.

The leading wicket-taker in this tournament so far, Lockie Ferguson is the latest addition to the Black Caps seam battery. Over the past two years, he has been impressive, taking 38 wickets at an average of 23.76.

Those are good enough numbers to have seen him climb to 21st in the world rankings, higher than even Mitchell Starc. Although he is still raw, some of the deliveries he puts down would have made Shane Bond proud.

His experience in the IPL with the Knight Riders will also prove invaluable as his side will look to go one better in this World Cup.

So the question raises – Does the New Zealand will win this world cup with the amazing team?

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India vs Australia: A Pre-Match Analysis

Image Source: Fox Sports – https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/8c3c6f6d644f63103610d47a322fe05b

India and Australia have a long history of meeting at the World Cup. One of the more recent encounters included the 2003 World Cup Final which India lost. The 2011 World Cup saw India beat Australia in the semi-finals to go on and eventually lift the title. The last edition saw Australia take revenge when they beat India in the semi-finals and went on to lift the title.

India come into the side as strong favourites. Australia themselves have found some form of late, winning their last 10 ODI’s on the run, the first three of which came against India in the bilateral series held in India.

Australia have won five World Cups and even though they are not the favourites to lift the title, you never write the Aussies off. They have an exemplary performance at World Cup and know what it takes to win.

With Justin Langer and three time world cup winner Ricky Ponting within their ranks, they bring a wealth of experience between them to the table, which might just make a difference.

Australia appear much stronger with the addition of David Warner and Steve Smith, who will both be hungry to prove themselves on the grandest stage of all, having already made runs in this tournament, both ending up in contributing to Australia’s wins over Afghanistan and England.

The weak link in their batting seems to be the form of the middle order. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, who have yet to make an impact in this tournament. India have an inform Rohit Sharma who comes into the game after a blistering hundred in his first outing against South Africa. Virat Kohli missed out in the first game and one can expect he will be looking to come back strong in a game of this magnitude. One can expect MS Dhoni to do what MS Dhoni does, and take the team over the finishing line.

Australia’s bowling is undoubtedly one of the best in this competition and their fast bowlers have been in fine form coming into this match. Mitchell Starc will be fresh coming off a five wicket haul, and becoming the quickest bowler to reach 150 wickets. His partner in crime, Pat Cummins has been in sublime form himself for the better part of last year, who along with Starc will look to make inroads into the Indian Top order, and squeeze out their runs.

India’s Jasprit Bumrah will have a similar job, but will be full of confidence himself having played a magnificent game against SA. Kuldeep Yadav had a reasonably good performance which will definitely encourage Indian fans but Yuzvendra Chahal’s performance will give India a lot of confidence.

India boast a proper wicket taking line-up and will be looking to pick up early wickets through Bumrah and Bhuveshwar Kumar. Come the middle overs, they look to Kuldeep and Chahal to get those wickets, the way they did against South Africa.

Both sides are currently undefeated in this tournament, but someone’s record will get tainted tonight. Will it be the Blue brigade or the current champions? Only time will tell.

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England Confident About Winning World Cup?

For a country that invented the glorious sport, it’s fair to say that England have been sub-par at major ICC events; the World Cup in particular.

The last two World Cups, though, have been almost nightmarish for the Englishmen. One reason could be that in the past, the England Cricket Board has been criticised for not giving enough importance to the shorter formats of the game, by focusing majorly on Test cricket. Rest assured, that is not the case anymore.

eoin morgan englang cricket world cup 2019
Image Source: Fox Sports

With the ever growing glamour and popularity of T20 cricket, England have taken to the format and how. Inspired by Brendon McCullum’s dynamic captaincy, Eoin Morgan had shouldered the burden upon himself to change the outlook of England as a limited overs’ side.

Since then, England have flattened their pitches and selected box office players like Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy to go hard from ball one. Evident of their success is the fact that no team has crossed the 300 run mark more often than England, since the 2015 World Cup.

Run rates, strike rates, averages, you name it; England have set the benchmark for all those numbers. Despite all of that, do England have what it takes to lift the World Cup?

Let’s have a look at their predicted playing XI of England World Cup Team;

  • Jason Roy
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Joe Root (c)
  • Eoin Morgan
  • Ben Stokes
  • Jos Buttler (wk)
  • Moeen Ali
  • Chris Woakes
  • Jofra Archer
  • Liam Plunkett
  • Adil Rashid

In the period between 2015-2019, Bairstow and Roy as a pair have amassed 1763 runs at an aggregate of 56.87.

This has been a major piece in Eoin Morgan’s puzzle for the perfect World Cup team. If one of them doesn’t get you, the other will.

And if both happen to be in the zone, the fielding team remains a spectator. The fact that this World Cup is being played in England is why this pair will be feared by most. Had it been in the subcontinent, you could open with a spinner and expose them.

In England, there won’t be much of swing or spin and the batsmen have the luxury of playing through the line of the ball. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan come close, but it’s difficult to see England’s opening combination being outclassed in the World Cup.

Expect captains to keep the pace bowlers out of the equation with Roy and Bairstow in the middle.

Jason Roy England Cricket World Cup 2019
Image Source: NewsHub

If Roy and Bairstow are butchers of the cricket ball, Root and Morgan are surgeons who pierce gaps by caressing the ball. That is an undying art in itself.

Both of them are excellent white ball cricketers because of their ability to rotate the strike in the middle overs.

The explosive openers are able to bat with such freedom because of the consistency of these two. Eoin Morgan averages 70 in ODI cricket this year, and has upped his power hitting game (with a strike rate 113 in 2019, in comparison to a career strike rate of 90).

Root’s role is very clear in this team; to bat through the innings. The anchoring role is something that he cherishes. Often, teams tend to underestimate his abilities in this format and as a result, pay the price.

In the ODI series against India in 2018, Root powered his way to 2 consecutive match winning hundreds to hand England a series win. Root and Morgan have been involved in some critical rebuilding partnerships for England (as a pair, they’ve been involved in 11 century partnerships and 7 half century partnerships).

Jos buttler World Cup England 2019
Image Source: India Today

Jos Buttler is cricket’s modern day AB De Villiers. With a ‘360-degree’ game, he is as destructive as it gets. Even the best of bowlers fall flat when this man is at his belligerent best.

In recent times, the brutal 50 ball 110* against Pakistan at Southampton should remind you of his credentials. What’s astonishing is his average of 41; to strike the ball in the high risk manner that he does with such consistency is a scary proposition for the opponents.

Taking the pace off against him seems to be the viable option. But with the flat wickets in England, high chances are that Buttler will shovel even the spinners into the stands. He’s one of the few players from the 2015 squad whom the team management kept their faith in. Safe to say that it is reaping rewards.

Ben Stokes is the kind of cricketer that will either make you want to tear your hair out, or will blow your mind away. There is no middle ground with him; the true successor to Andrew Flintoff, indeed.

Be it a breezy hundred against Australia at the 2017 Champions Trophy, or a painfully slow 64 ball 34 against Pakistan just 4 days later, Ben Stokes will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions. He’s quite an erratic bowler as well, with pitch conditions often dictating his performance.

Not to forget, as Eoin Morgan has labelled him, Stokes is the kind of personality that lifts the spirits of the entire team. He’s got the potential to win England games in either department and this World Cup could be the perfect hunting ground.

Image Source: Gulf News

Moeen Ali is coming off a very good IPL season, with bat and ball. England would be looking to feed off that form of his. In the middle overs, his job is to stem the flow of runs while Adil Rashid attacks. As a batsman, Moeen is a lot better than number 7.

Though, it’s difficult for him to be promoted higher up the order with the kind of power packed lineup that England possess. Perhaps on rank turners, Moeen’s expertise against spin could warrant a promotion. Ali is a lot like Raina; he’s someone that does whatever the team wants him to.

He’s batted at positions ranging from an opener all the way down to a finisher at number 7. Unlike Stokes, Moeen isn’t exactly what you would call an out and out match winner, but his role of keeping things tight in the middle overs and scoring quick-fire 20s and 30s at the back end of the innings cannot be understated.

Image Source: Hindustan Times

The pace attack consists of Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer and Liam Plunkett. Jofra Archer could be England’s ace at this World Cup. While he doesn’t have much of experience at the international level, Archer has played in high pressure leagues all around the world for the past couple of years.

Image Source: BBC

The England Cricket Board had the rules changed just to fast track Archer into the squad. Now, that should tell you just how good he is. His ability to generate pace in excess of 90 miles an hour was missing in this team.

A sharp yorker and a shrewd mix of variations are amongst his deadly arsenal of deliveries. On flat wickets, bowlers like Archer are a must. Woakes and Plunkett have been regulars in the side for a number of years. Both of them have very different roles. Plunkett has rejuvenated himself as a middle-overs’ bowler.

He’s cut down on pace and relies heavily on variations in order to get wickets, even if they come at the expense of a few extra runs. Generally, he goes at 6 to 6 and a half runs an over, but manages to scalp a couple of crucial wickets in the middle.

Woakes bowls primarily upfront with the new ball. When conditions are overcast, there are few bowlers in world cricket that can make the ball talk as much as Woakes. He is what you would call a typical English bowler.

Woakes’ game is more suited to the longer format, though with appearances in various T20 teams, he has improved as a death overs’ bowler. If the wicket is not offering any assistance, England would be tempted by the prospect of Mark Wood to add some pace.

Image Source: BBC

If you were wondering what has allowed England to get away with such flat wickets against some quality oppositions, the answer is Adil Rashid.

Skipper Morgan can rely on Rashid at any stage of the game to get a wicket. Since 2015, Rashid has got 130 wickets to his name. He possesses a very sharp googly that works because it is used very smartly. Rashid is an old school bowler in the sense that he steadily sets up batsmen. Mixed with sliders, flippers and leg breaks, Rashid has outfoxed so many with a googly that spits off the surface. It truly is some sight to watch him operate at peak performance.

Adil Rashid along with Jofra Archer are the players that need to have good tournaments for England to go all the way. The difference in high scoring games is minimal and the bowlers are the ones who make or break that difference. England are blessed with two genuine wicket takers in Rashid and Archer.

As a whole, this team is a well-oiled unit with a plethora of experience in these conditions. It’s not often that you think ahead, but surely, England are seeing themselves at the Lord’s balcony on the 14th of July. With such a squad, it won’t be a surprise if they go all the way.

The simultaneous pressure of being the favourites and playing at home is the only factor that could potentially come in the way of England and silverware.

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Will Team India Win this World Cup?

Team India World Cup Team
Image Source: Cricket Yahoo

ANOTHER HOMECOMING FOR THE BLUE BRIGADE?

The blue brigade walks into the World Cup as hot favorites to lift the title at the home of cricket, having done it once in the historic 1983 campaign. Being the second ranked ODI side in the world, India boast a plethora of batting as well as bowling talent.

With an enviable mix of youth and experience, India are one of the more balanced side in this World Cup, and already know what it takes to win the World Cup with stalwarts MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli the surviving members of the winning squad back in 2011 on home turf.

THE BATTING DEPARTMENT

msdhoni-virat kohli online fantasy cricket team

India’s batting has been one of reasons for their recent success, with the top three of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli accounting for more than 18 150-plus stands in ODIs.

In comparison, the trio of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, and Ricky Ponting managed only seven. This shows how dominant the top three of India has been. Of the three of them, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma stand first and second on the ICC cricket rankings respectively.

However, this top order dependence is also cause for concern as the top three have accounted for nearly 50% of the total runs scored by India.

The middle order is a cause for concern, but KL Rahul’s sublime hundred in the warm up game against Bangaldesh will be encouraging to Indian fans. He had a wonderful IPL, and he will most likely be the number 4 that India will look forward to solidify the middle order.

KL Rahul will of course be ably supported and mentored by MS Dhoni who will be the lynchpin holding the middle order together. He can rotate the strike with ease, and play the big shots. His record with finishing games is next to none.

Together, he and Virat Kohli have brought India over the line on many an occasion.

THE ALL-ROUND DEPARTMENT

kedar jadav and hardik pandya fantasy cricket world cup
Image source: scroll.in

The middle order is also bolstered by the inclusion of two very good all-rounders in Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, the latter coming off a fantastic IPL season. He will be burdened with scoring quick-fire runs in the last few overs of the game, and win the game for India, both while batting first or chasing.

Kedar Kadhav is a very handy player who can pose a few problems for batsmen with his bowling with his unorthodox bowling action. He is also fairly good with the bat, and has improved his craft under the leadership of MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings.

For backup, they have the energetic Ravindra Jadeja, who bowls a tight line, and is one of the finest fielders in world cricket. In case of injury scares or where team India feels like they need an extra bowler, Jadeja can slot right back into the playing eleven.

THE BOWLING LINE

Jasprit-Bumrah-Cricket-World-Cup-2019-Fantasy-Cricket-Online
Image Source: https://www.crictracker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Jasprit-Bumrah.jpg

The pace bowling attack is led by the fearsome Jasprit Bumrah, who is the number one ranked bowler in the world. His partner in crime will be the resurgent Mohamed Shami or the calm Bhubaneswar Kumar. Either way, India’s pace attack is extremely strong.

Bumrah can bowl with the new ball as well as bowl at the death with his fast in-swinging yorkers. He has the unique knack to pick up wickets whenever his team wants him.

Image Source: https://images.indianexpress.com/2019/03/shami.jpg?w=759&h=422&imflag=true

Shami has risen like a phoenix in the last couple of years, and is only getting better and better. He looks strong, and fast, and he bowls with purpose, which can unsettle any batsman.

As regards the spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep yadav are the two spinners who will work in tandem in the middle overs. Among them they spin a web around the batting side, strangling them for runs.

Add to that the bowling of Hardik Pandya or Kedar Jadhav, and India certainly looks as though they have all sides covered, and are certainly a force to be reckoned with in this World Cup.

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