Fantasy: Picking Topley as captain could be vital

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26 Jul 2022 | 11:16 AM
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Fantasy: Picking Topley as captain could be vital

Here are a few tips that might help you create your fantasy team for the first T20I between England and South Africa

After what was a frustrating last two ODIs, owing to the rain, we officially are here for the shortened version of the game, the T20Is. While there are still chances of shower in Bristol, the two teams would be hoping for a full-blown encounter with much interruptions. 

Incidentally, both theses sides last played India in the shortest format. South Africa will enter this series as the favourites but ruling England at home is the last thing anyone could do. 

Ground Details and Team Combination

If you win the toss at Bristol, you chase. Well, at least that is what the winning teams have done at the venue in T20Is. If we extend the sample size to all T20s since 2020, then also the teams chasing have won more games than teams setting a total. Whichever skipper wins the toss, they will more or less like to chase at the venue.

On the bowling front, English conditions are the perfect opportunity to flex your pacers. At the venue since 2020, 131 wickets have been taken by pacers, with just 43 wickets for the spinners. So, it would be wise for you to pick a team that is filled with pacers. Picking up the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, David Willey and Reece Topley could be the way to win the day.

Suggested Team

While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.

Captaincy and vice-captain suggestions

For small leagues: Jonny Bairstow (c), Rassie van der Dussen (vc)

For Grand leagues: Reece Topley (c), Quinton de Kock (vc)

Stats that matter

•    At Bristol, the pacers have had a literal Blast. Since 2020, over 75% of the wickets at the venue have been taken by pacers (131). In just 2022, 53 wickets have been taken by pacers in comparison to the 15 taken by spinners, making this one of the most pace-friendly venues in the country.

•    It is one of the few venues where top-order batters have excelled. At the venue, across all T20Is, top-order have scored 554 runs, at an average of 36.9 and a strike-rate of 138.5. More importantly, most of the leading run-scorers at the venue in T20Is have all been openers, hinting at which route you must go. 

•    Chris Jordan tops the wicket-takers chart for England in 2022, with nine wickets, averaging just 24.8. For South Africa, it has been the all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, who has scalped five wickets in just four innings, averaging 29.

•    On the batting front, Heinrich Klaasen has been a pillar of strength for the Proteas, with 118 runs in three T20Is, averaging 39.33 and a strike-rate of 151.3. While for England, it has been the all-rounder Moeen Ali, with 179 runs but at a paltry average of 22.38. 

Grand League Punts

•    Since the start of the India white-ball series, Reece Topley has been nothing short of a sensation in English cricket. The left-arm seamer has picked up 11 wickets in the 50-over format, averaging just 12 while having picked up four wickets in the shortest format. An in-form Topley in Bristol could be as deadly as it comes. 

•    Quinton de Kock wasn’t in the best of forms against India in the Proteas’ last T20I series. However, picking de Kock can be worth your investment, considering the left-handed opener was on sing in the washed-out ODI in Leeds, where he scored an unbeaten 92. England are one of de Kock’s favourite opponents, with an average of 35.89 and 323 runs. 

•    The other two picks are fairly straightforward – Bairstow is England’s fourth highest-run scorer in T20Is since 2020 and his return could once again boost the Three Lions. Rassie van der Dussen, on the other hand, is Proteas’ second-best batter in the same time-frame, with 776 runs. Picking these two could very well give you the safe mileage that you need. 

Here are the top ten Criclytics projections

Probable XIs

South Africa XI: Rilee Rossouw, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller (c), Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi

England XI: Jos Buttler (c) (wk), Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Reece Topley, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid

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England vs South AfricaSouth Africa tour of England, 2022South AfricaEnglandReece TopleyDawid MalanLiam LivingstoneQuinton de Kock

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