Despite the rain getting the better of Wednesday’s encounter between New Zealand and South Africa, there was still some cracking cricket being played in the Women’s World Cup 2017 this week.
Round two matches kicked off with Natalie Sciver (7.0) and Heather Knight (8.0) giving Pakistan bowlers and fielders the run-around, as their 213-run partnership fuelled England’s mammoth total of 377-7 before Pakistan limped to 107-3, with England eventually winning by 107 runs via the DSL Method.
Australia followed up an eight-wicket victory over West Indies in round one with the same result against Sri Lanka in round two on Thursday, proving their prowess in the chase. Meg Lanning (10.0) scored a sensational 152 – the highest score in the tournament so far – proving why she sits at the peak of the ICC ODI Championship Batting Rankings. India only conceded three wickets in their chase of 184 to win against the West Indies, with Smriti Mandhana (5.0) scoring an impressive century.
India’s Mithali Raj (9.5) – the batter and skipper cool enough to read a book whilst waiting to bat – has proved, rather unsurprisingly, to be the most popular pick in both round one (in 58.30 per cent of teams) and round two (56.31 per cent), echoing the popularity commanded by Virat Kohli in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Classic Fantasy.
Many saw good value in New Zealand’s Holly Huddleston (5.0) first up (42.94 per cent) but more gamers jumped on the bandwagon for round two after her 5-35 against Sri Lanka on Saturday, finishing the round as the second most popular pick (51.53 per cent). Compatriot Suzie Bates (9.5), the Kiwi captain and all-rounder who notched a century against Sri Lanka, was the third most popular in both rounds, finishing round two in just over half of the teams (50.75 per cent). Classic Fantasy managers were left reeling, however, when New Zealand’s match against South Africa on Wednesday was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
England duo Sarah Taylor (7.5) and Heather Knight (8.0) were ranked the fourth and fifth most popular after round two, being selected in 47.91 per cent and 37.63 per cent respectively. Raj, Huddleston, Bates and Taylor were in the top five most selected players in both rounds, with Heather Knight replacing Australia’s Meg Lanning (10.0) in fifth place for round two.
Highest point-scorers: round two
Batters and all-rounders dominated round two with Sri Lanka batter Chamari Athapaththu (6.0) scoring the most points in the latest round of matches (277) with England’s Natalie Sciver (7.0; 268) in second after an incredible 137 off 92 balls against Pakistan, who struggled to tame the 24-year-old. Expect England’s No.4 to be a popular pick in round three. Meg Lanning, the game’s most expensive asset, racked up 213 points as round two’s third highest point-scorer, with India’s Smriti Mandhana (203) – great value at 5.0 – and England’s Heather Knight (157) in fourth and fifth respectively.
Highest point-scorers: overall
So, who has done the business over both rounds so far? Smriti Mandhana tops the point-scoring charts with 368, closely followed by Chamari Athapaththu (364). Australia’s Nicole Bolton (6.5; 309), Sciver (268) and Lanning (252) also make the top five. Knight (248), Bates (174), India’s Deepti Sharma (6.0; 171), Huddleston (165) and Australia’s Ellyse Perry (9.5; 163) complete the top 10. Australia has the most players present, with three.
Top five transfer tips for Round 3:
Mithali Raj, India (9.5): A respectable 12th in the point-scoring charts, Raj, second in the ICC ODI Championship Batting Rankings, is perhaps saving her finest performances for the business end of the campaign. Over half the managers are likely to pick her – can you afford not to?
Sarah Taylor England (7.5): The host’s wicketkeeper and opening batter has a highest score of 22 in this tournament. So why are we recommending her? Easy: she’s due runs. One of the most-selected players but has yet to repay the faith.
Smriti Mandhana, India (5.0): The game’s highest point-scorer, an absolute steal at 5.0 and playing a struggling Pakistan in round three.
Holly Huddleston, New Zealand (5.0): Five-fer versus Sri Lanka and batteries recharged after round two match abandonment. Rivalling Mandhana for solid mid-range value.
Fran Wilson, England (3.0): The 11th-highest point-scorer in the game, Wilson is the biggest bargain available right now.
Top transfer tip:
If you look at the top 10 overall point-scorers in WWC17 Classic Fantasy you’ll find four batters and five all-rounders, with Holly Huddleston the sole bowler representative in ninth. The top five round-two point-scorers comprised three batters and two all-rounders. An obvious pattern and tactic is emerging here: spend your money on reliable point-scoring batters and all-rounders whilst looking for value in the bowling department to balance the books. Ignore Huddleston at 5.0 at your peril.