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Champions Trophy

ICC Fantasy Preview: Semi-Finals

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Here’s some transfer advice for the Classic Fantasy game. A few smart transfers could still propel you to the dizzy heights of the overall leaderboard…

We’ve reached the business end of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and there are some mouth-watering semi-finals awaiting us. Here’s some transfer advice for the Classic Fantasy game. A few smart transfers could still propel you to the dizzy heights of the overall leaderboard…

Hosts England – the only team to have won all three of their group matches – face Pakistan in Wednesday’s semi-final in Cardiff, after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the final group game of the tournament on Monday. Meanwhile, Bangladesh will take on India in the other semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday, in another stadium-rocking encounter.

Although we’re down to the last four, the top three most popular players selected so far in Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Ben Stokes, are all still in the tournament, while the other two players that make up the top five, Hashim Amla and David Warner, have played their last in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

Most selected Power Player

Classic Fantasy: All players (after Group Stage)
PlayerSidePositionValueTotal Power PlayerTotal Points
Virat KohliIndiaBatsman10.063,835220
Joe RootEnglandBatsman9.034,227336
Ben StokesEnglandAll-rounder9.032,324295
Hashim AmlaSouth AfricaBatsman8.530,692200
David WarnerAustraliaBatsman9.529,52621

 

Dangerman: England - Joe Root (9.0)

England’s Golden Boy – Classic Fantasy’s second highest point-scorer with 336 – is averaging 106.00. That’s reason enough to transfer him into your team if you haven’t already. Jason Roy is out of sorts so Root has been arriving early and shining at the crease. He’s England’s lynchpin but he’s not just a stylish accumulator who allows others to play; a strike-rate of 100-plus is quicker than Alex Hales, Roy and even Ben Stokes (9.0), who is England’s other dangerman – just in case you needed reminding.

Last five ODI scores: 39, 2, 133*, 64, 15

Dangerman: Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal (6.0)

Bangladesh wouldn’t be in the semi-finals without its talisman’s runs: the opener has clocked up 223 runs in his three ICC Champions Trophy 2017 matches thus far. A brilliant 128 against England, followed by 95 against Australia, proved he’s a big-game player. He may make the Tigers purr, but even when he does fail, as happened against New Zealand, there is enough quality in the rest of the team to get the job done.

Last five ODI scores: 47, 65, 128, 95, 0

Dangerman: Pakistan - Mohammad Amir (8.5)

He’s only taken two wickets in this tournament, so he’s due a bucketload against England. He’s one of the competition’s more economical bowlers – his economy rate of 4.79 is the ninth best of those who have bowled in all three group matches. As he’s Pakistan’s biggest threat, some oppositions have looked to see him off, only raising their ambitions against the rest of the Pakistan attack. That hasn’t helped Amir’s wicket tally, but it proves how much his team have come to rely on this sensational talent, who’s still only 25.

Last five ODI figures: 1-36, 2-41, 0-32, 0-50, 0-53

Dangerman: India – Shikhar Dhawan (6.0)

We’ve filled enough column inches with superlatives about Virat Kohli; you already know the most popular player in this fantasy game is a world-beater. So we’ve plumped for Shikhar Dhawan instead – another choice unlikely to create shockwaves. Why? Well, he’s Classic Fantasy’s highest point-scorer, the current top run-scorer in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and the top run-scorer from the 2013 edition. Valued at just 6.0, he’s difficult to ignore. More on Dhawan’s incredible stats to come.

Last five ODI scores: 1, 11, 68, 125, 78

Wildcard: England - Jonny Bairstow (5.0)

The rumour mill suggests England’s super sub is likely to replace the out-of-form Jason Roy. Whether Bairstow will be a direct replacement as opener or will prompt a batting reshuffle – both Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali have had previous stints at the top – remains to be seen. In his four ODIs this year, the right-handed batsman has scored three half-centuries at a run-a-ball. He deserves his chance and, more importantly, this transfer will make you look pretty smart if it pulls off.

Last five ODI scores: 15, 56, 10*, 72*, 51

Absolute steal: Hassan Ali (4.0)

Hassan Ali finished with figures of 3-24 off eight overs against South Africa and recorded 3-43 from 10 overs in Monday’s victory over Sri Lanka. Like England’s Liam Plunkett, Ali has two three-wicket hauls from his three ICC Champions Trophy 2017 matches. Always at you with a blend of variations, the right-arm fast bowler has a knack of taking wickets; 36 scalps from just 19 ODIs.

Last five ODI figures: 5-38, 1-29, 1-70, 3-24, 3-43

Absolute steal II: Liam Plunkett (4.0)

Fellow countryman Jake Ball (2.5) is as cheap as chips and demands attention if you would like to free up some funds, but Liam Plunkett has been England’s star strike bowler in this tournament and at 4.0 he represents a low-risk bargain. The speedster is Classic Fantasy’s highest-scoring bowler with 248, in a top six that features five Englishmen. With eight ICC Champions Trophy 2017 wickets, Plunkett has contributed in every game and doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.

Highest Net Transferred IN

Classic Fantasy: All players (after Group Stage)
PlayersSidePositionValueTransferred InTransferred OutNet TransfersTotal Power PlayerTotal Points
Hassan AliPakistanBowler4.016,3942,44313,9511,789233
Liam PlunkettEnglandBowler4.018,9935,47113,522733248
Kusal MendisSri LankaBatsman2.016,9453,72913,2164,266204
Bhuvneshwar KumarIndiaBowler6.519,9128,05311,8592,965140
Shikhar DhawanIndiaBatsman6.019,0787,56511,5138,089347

 

Numbers game

More on Shikhar Dhawan because his numbers are staggering. The left-handed opener is sixth in the list of ICC Champions Trophy all-time highest run-scorers. His 634 runs have come from just eight matches, while his average of 90.57 is by far and away the loftiest average on the leaderboard. To put that into context, it’s over double his overall ODI batting average of 44.81. If India make it through to the final, you wouldn’t put it past him to notch the 157 runs required to overtake Chris Gayle as the ICC Champions Trophy’s ultimate run-getter.

Top transfer tip

England are the form team and five of the top eight highest-scoring players are Englishmen. So, Root, Stokes, Morgan, Hales and Plunkett it is then. But wait, we hear you cry, I can only pick four players from each country! Not anymore. We’ve now increased that restriction to six players for the semi-finals and will be raising it to eight for the grand finale.

Classic Fantasy: All players (after Group Stage)
PlayerSidePositionValueTransferred InTransferred OutNet TransfersTotal Power PlayerTotal Points
Shikhar DhawanIndiaBatsman6.019,0787,56511,5138,089347
Joe RootEnglandBatsman9.026,93837,028-10,09034,227336
Ben StokesEnglandAll-rounder9.025,30627,883-2,57632,324295
Eoin Morgan EnglandBatsman7.014,83714,1906475,814249
Liam PlunkettEnglandBowler4.018,9935,47113,522733248
Hassan aliPakistanBowler4.016,3942,44313,9511,789233
Alex HalesEnglandBatsman6.511,98810,0091,9783,947224
Virat KohliIndiaBatsman10.031,11932,896-1,77763,835220
Rohit SharmaIndiaBatsman7.514,5518,7025,8499,539218
Kusal MendisSri LankaBatsman2.0016,9453,72913,2164,266204

 

If you’ve got plenty of players already on the plane home, you now get unlimited transfers until 30 minutes before the start of the England-Pakistan semi, so get busy. But you don’t need to put all your eggs into one basket just yet; between the first and second semi-finals you can make four transfers and between the Thursday’s semi-final and the final you can again make unlimited transfers. Don’t say we never treat you.