Fantasy: Run-machines are your point-machines

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27 Aug 2022 | 07:42 PM staff

Fantasy: Run-machines are your point-machines

Here are a few tips that could help you create your fantasy XI for the Asia Cup clash between India and Pakistan

Nine months after the humiliating defeat in the T20 World Cup, India will be out seeking revenge as they take on arch-rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, in what is set to be the blockbuster second game of Asia Cup 2022. India will enter the clash in red-hot form, having remarkably won 16 of the 20 T20Is they’ve played this year, while Pakistan will enter the derby having flabbergastingly played a solitary T20I all year. 

Both sides have injury woes, losing their respective pace spearheads, but the Men in Blue will enter the contest as marginal favorites by virtue of their recent form in the shortest format, having won 8 of their last 10 T20Is. 

A mouth-watering contest awaits us in Dubai!

Ground Details

The Dubai International Stadium, which will host the much-awaited India-Pakistan clash, oversaw a low-scoring encounter on Saturday, in which Afghanistan steamrolled Sri Lanka. The Mohammad Nabi-led Afghanistan side opted to bowl after winning the toss and rolled the Lankans over for just 105, before chasing the target down in under 11 overs. 

There was plenty of early swing for the seamers and Afghanistan used the same to their advantage after winning the toss as left-armer Fazalhaq Farooqi ripped through the Lankan top-order. But at the same time, there was also enough purchase for the spinners, the spin trio of Mujeeb, Rashid and Nabi finishing with combined figures of 4/50 off 12 overs. 

Given Sri Lanka were below par with the bat on the night, too much cannot be read from Saturday’s encounter, but one thing that will probably definitely happen on Sunday is the toss-winning captain opting to field: 13 of the last 14 T20Is in Dubai have been won by the team chasing. ‘Win toss, win game’ has been the mantra in Dubai and it might take a hell of an effort from the side batting first to overcome the rather unfair advantage and emerge victorious.

Suggested Team

While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from’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 suggestions

For small leagues: Mohammad Rizwan (capt), Hardik Pandya (vice capt)

For grand leagues: Mohammad Rizwan (capt), Hardik Pandya (vice capt)

Stats that matter

* Since the start of 2021, Rizwan averages 71.00 in T20Is and has passed 50 a staggering 13 times in 27 innings. His last 5 T20I scores read 23, 87, 38, 78 and 40, and in the last H2H match against India, incidentally in Dubai, he struck an unbeaten 79*.

* Rizwan’s opening partner Babar, too, is a model of consistency. He averages 41.66 across his last 25 T20I innings and has scored a fifty in each of his last two T20I knocks. The last time he played India, Babar struck an unbeaten 68*.

* Virat Kohli averages a remarkable 77.75 in T20Is against Pakistan. His last 4 scores against Pakistan in T20Is read 57, 55*, 49 and 36*.

* In T20Is in UAE, Ravindra Jadeja has an average of 14.42, the best for him in any country. Jadeja’s ER of 5.94 in UAE is also the second-best for him in any country.  

* Shadab Khan has an average of 17.33 and ER of 6.33 in UAE, compared to 23.97 (avg) and 7.44 (ER) elsewhere. At the Dubai International Stadium, the leggie has picked 14 wickets in 7 matches, including a four-fer the last time he played there (vs Australia in the T20WC 2021 semis).

Grand League punts

* Babar and Rizwan are run-banks and must be in your Fantasy XI at all costs; such is Rizwan’s consistency that making him the skipper will barely be a risk. 

* Given there’s a high likelihood that Hardik Pandya could be in the Indian XI as a third seam-bowling option, there’s great incentive to gamble on the all-rounder as either skipper or vice-skipper. The team’s gung-ho approach is also bound to leave him with plenty of balls to bat. 

* Shadab Khan, evident by the numbers above, is a cheat code in UAE conditions and needs to be in your fantasy XI against an RHB heavy Indian side (that could potentially have 6 RHB batters in its Top 7). Shadab hasn’t fired yet with the bat in T20Is but will always be a prudent pick owing to the extra dimension he adds with the bat. 

Probable XIs

India: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan

Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman,  Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf,  Shahnawaz Dahani, Naseem Shah

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India vs PakistanAsia Cup, 2022IndiaPakistan

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