This is it – the grand finale and the business end of CT17 Classic Fantasy. India comfortably chased down 265 to win the semi-final by nine wickets against Bangladesh at Edgbaston after Pakistan defeated host England by eight wickets in Cardiff. A dream final awaits between two of the fiercest rivals in sport. Read on if you would like to finish your Classic Fantasy campaign in style.
It’s hard to look past India’s top three of Shikhar Dhawan (valued at 6.0; 405 points), Rohit Sharma (7.5; 398) and Virat Kohli (10.0; 346) – the first, second and fourth highest point-scorers in CT17 Classic Fantasy, and the first, second and fifth highest run-scorers respectively. They get opportunities to bat long and have been mightily consistent. With this dynamic trio spearheading the batting, India feels it can chase down anything, and the potential absence of Mohammad Amir won’t aid Pakistan’s chances of taming them. They represent the safest options for your Power Player, but if you need a miracle to threaten the leaderboard then you’ll have to think outside the box.
Let’s delve a little deeper into why India’s top three should be shoo-ins for your fantasy team for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Final. In this campaign, Dhawan, the king of ICC global tournaments, has 317 runs at 79.25, while Rohit has 304 at 101.33. India captain Kohli, meanwhile, has 253 runs at an incredible 253.00, having only been out once in his four innings, reaffirming his status as ODI cricket’s premier finisher.
Beyond these three, Pakistan openers Azhar Ali (6.0) and Fakhar Zaman (3.0) have shown form and complement each other nicely at the top, with Zaman being the real steal of the pack. Kohli may be Classic Fantasy’s costliest gun for hire but with the others offering great-to-moderate value, there’s no reason why you can’t afford India’s top three and Pakistan’s openers as your CT17 Final batting line-up. Just don’t expect to be the only one.
Not as many nailed-on picks as the batsmen category, but Hasan Ali (4.0) is certainly one. The Pakistan fast bowler is the tournament’s top wicket-taker with 10 scalps at 17.20 and an impressive economy rate of 4.52. Ali has emerged from relative obscurity to play a starring role in CT17 and will lead the Pakistan attack if Mohammad Amir, who missed the semi-final against England with a back spasm, doesn’t recover forSunday. Pakistan also lost Wahab Riaz after the first match of the tournament, which has allowed Ali and Junaid Khan (3.0) to thrive. A lot of value can be found in Pakistan’s attack; left-arm seamer Khan, for instance, has seven wickets and 195 fantasy points thus far. Rumman Raees (3.0) is a wildcard pick; he took 2-44 against England, having been summoned as Riaz’s replacement.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is India’s highest point-scoring bowler with 196 points but wickets are shared and its impressive bowling unit is not over-reliant on one individual. Jasprit Bumrah (6.0) is CT17’s most economical bowler from those who have played more than one match, with a run-starving rate of 4.30.
Yuvraj Singh (6.0) has shown form but his overs have been restricted from both a bowling and batting point of view. Despite being India’s No. 4, he’s spent much of the tournament padded up on the sidelines watching the top three fire. Ravindra Jadeja (7.0) and Hardik Pandya (4.0) have contributed without being spectacular; the former was the top wicket-taker in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, and with just the four wickets so far, perhaps he’s due an explosive finish. Mohammad Hafeez (6.0) is Pakistan’s highest-scoring all-rounder, with a healthy 181 points; he’s only scored 91 runs and taken a solitary wicket, but has been boosted by three catches. In theory, all-rounders should score a bucketload, but only England’s Ben Stokes makes the top 10 highest point-scorers as we enter the final.
A straight fight between India’s MS Dhoni (6.0) and Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed (5.0). Both have shown form, so this call could come down to budget. The India gloveman has 63 runs, four catches and 137 points, while Ahmed edges it with 76 runs, five catches and 186 points, boosted by his Player of the Match performance against Sri Lanka, owed to a vital 61 not out. Dhoni is a man for the big occasion though, however if history is any indication, Sarfraz may spend more time in the middle.
Semi-final popularity contest
Pakistan have just one player in Classic Fantasy’s top 10 highest point-scorers after the semi-finals in Hasan Ali, compared to England’s five in Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan, Liam Plunkett and Alex Hales, illustrating just how big a victory that was for Pakistan.
Classic Fantasy Most Points (after semi-finals)
Ali was also among the most selected players for the semi-final match versus England, with 24,177 fantasy gamers picking him, which was comfortably lower than the 45,947 and 45,167 who picked Stokes and Root respectively. Ali’s list of admirers is likely to increase for the final.
Rather predictably, Kohli was the most selected player in the semi-final between India and Bangladesh, with 50,951 picking the game’s most expensive asset with an aggregate power player tally of 78,526. Dhawan was the next most selected, with 34,505 placing their faith in him, which edged out Bangladesh’s Tamin Iqbal with 34,208. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the fourth most popular with 31,485 opting for his services.
Virat Kohli became the fastest to 8,000 ODI runs in the victorious semi-final against Bangladesh, while compatriot Shikhar Dhawan needs just 112 runs to overtake West Indies’ Chris Gayle (791 runs) as the Champions Trophy’s all-time highest run-scorer. Can he become a record-breaker in the CT17 Final?
You can make unlimited transfers between now and 10am (BST) on Sunday, which includes your Power Player. Furthermore, you can now select up to eight players from any one nation. So, will you lean towards the value of Pakistan’s bowling attack and the big guns of India’s batting line-up? Or are you seeking to make up ground and looking to take a few risks to gain on your competition?
Click here to manage your CT17 fantasy team now!