ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Preview & Top Fantasy Cricket picks

Bored of playing the same old fantasy cricket league? Ready to try something new this ICC Champions Trophy? Read on…

We are excited to announce the free-to-play 1Tip1Hand fantasy league on Fanto.

We think Fanto brings a different approach to fantasy cricket, removing budgets and simplifying substitutions by having an unlimited transfer window after every round of fixtures (4 matches). Registration takes 2 minutes and you can use the league pin BEC50D3004 to compete in our league. Check it out here to make the ICC Champions Trophy even more exciting!

To help you pick your winning combo, we have set out below our team previews and key players. Happy fantasy-ing!

Group A

England, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand.

England

One of the front-runners and favourites to win Group A, Morgan’s merry men have slipped nicely into their groove with a series win over South Africa, the world’s number 1 ODI side.

Players to watch

Ben Stokes

High on confidence, this million-dollar man helped the Pune Supergiant make the IPL finals this year. A game changer with bat and ball, Stokes is an asset any team would love to have. Leading up to the Champions Trophy, he has two centuries in his last six innings. The only question mark remaining is over his fitness..

Jason Roy

Although he’s been in relatively poor form of late, Jason Roy is the man for big occasions. Although he averages just 18 in the last 3 months, his overall ODI average is still at nearly 40 in all ODIs, striking at over 100. England look fierce if he fires in partnership with Hales at the top.

Mark Wood

In a team usually known for their fast bowling prowess, Wood seems underwhelming with just 14 ODIs under his belt at age 27. However, he brings real pace, consistently clocking 148-149 kmph, which can get some serious bite on English pitches. He will be a real threat in partnership with Plunkett and Stokes and his match-winning last over on Saturday will have done his confidence no harm whatsoever.

Bangladesh

Despite having missed out on the last two editions of the ICC Champions Trophy (in 09 and 13), in an unusual twist, Bangladesh is ranked #6 at the start of the tournament, which puts them ahead of both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Players to watch

Tamim Iqbal

What does one say about Tamim? This little powerhouse has been a key reason for Bangladesh’s success in the past 2-3 years. He even racked up another century in the warm-up against Pakistan, and his current form is superb – he averages over 80 since April.

Mashrafe Mortaza

Captain Mortaza brings as much to the field with his leadership and experience, as he does with his bowling. While not the explosive wicket-taker, he can be relied on to pick up 1-2 wickets per game and keep the economy rate down – his career ODI economy rate is just 4.75.

Mustafizur Rahman

Unlike his experienced compatriots, the 21-year old “fizz” burst onto the scene in 2016 and had a great IPL that year, picking up 17 wickets with the lowest economy rate among bowlers with 13 or more wickets. Opposition batsmen may look to play out his overs but it won’t be easy – he’s picked up two 4-fors in his last six outings.

Australia

The World Cup champions and always a force to reckon with. The Aussies are currently embroiled in a pay dispute with Cricket Australia and have made it clear that winning the ICC Champions Trophy is their priority. Write them off at your own peril.

Players to watch

Pat Cummins

Aussie cricket fans will be thrilled that Cummins returned to full fitness and played lots of IPL recently. Given his incredible run in the 2011-12 season, it’s hard to believe had has just turned 24. In partnership with Starc, Hazlewood and Pattinson, the Aussie fast bowling line-up is the best in this year’s tournament.

Steve Smith

Test average of 61, ODI average of 43, and an incredible test season in India this spring. Smith is Australia’s captain supreme and undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the world at the moment.

Chris Lynn

A rather polarizing figure, Lynn is by no means guaranteed a spot in the playing XI. However, his T20 record is outstanding – he averages nearly 37 at a strike rate of nearly 150 after 92 matches. If he can translate even a tiny bit of that form into the first 15 overs, Australia will be sitting pretty early on.

New Zealand

The World Cup runners-up and winners of the ICC Champions Trophy’s previous avatar, the ICC knock-out, in 2000. The Kiwis are not seen as minnows any longer and their qualification for the semis will not be seen as a fluke or an upset.

Players to watch

Kane Williamson

With an average of 46 and 29 half-centuries under his belt, Williamson is undoubtedly one of the world’s top batsmen at the moment. Those who worried about his strike rate would have been pleasantly surprised by his stunning 89 off just 51 balls in his first IPL 2017 match.

Colin de Grandhomme

A poor man’s Ben Stokes, CdG at age 30 has lots of first-class experience but very little international experience, having played just 9 ODIs. However, with a first class average over 35 with the bat and more than 200 wickets with the ball, he’s an asset at #7 for New Zealand.

Trent Boult

Although he lost his spot to Woakes for most of the IPL 2017 season, Boult offers incredible variety in the powerplay and the death overs. He has 87 ODI wickets from just 48 outings, with an economy rate of under five runs an over  – figures that most fast bowlers would take in a heartbeat.

Group A qualifier predicition: England and Australia.

******

Group B

Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India.

Pakistan

Which Pakistan will turn up? Will it be the world-beating team we know they can be or will they lose direction in their first major tournament without Misbah and Afridi? No one knows but it promises to be crazy exciting!

Players to watch

Ahmed Shehzad

Shehzad has been around for many years now and although he is only 25, this is his chance to show that he is a talent to be retained. He has been given a number of chances and even though he has had some promising opening performances in the past, his ODI average is only 33. Pakistan’s strength has always been their bowling and if they are to make it to the semis in the tournament, Shehzad will have to make significant contributions on the batting front.

Mohammad Amir

England is where Amir’s career ended in 2010 and it’s where he made his comeback. As his love-hate relationship with English crowds continues, Pakistan will be looking to Amir for some early wickets and yorkers at the death. He has picked up 50 ODI wickets in 32 matches and on his day can scythe through the best batting line-up.

Wahab Riaz

Wahab will be remembered for his menacing spell against Australia in the 2015 World Cup. He almost single-handedly turned that game around in Pakistan’s favour and, with more luck, would have won it for them. A wholehearted cricketer, expect him to extract some pace and bounce on English pitches!

South Africa

South Africa somehow managed to lose the ODI series against England, raising old doubts about their pedigree at ICC tournaments. Chokers or champions? Only time will tell.

Players to watch

Quinton De Kock

Despite having Amla, DeVilliers and Duminy in the side, South Africa will be looking to De Kock to continue his sublime form. He averages 43 in ODIs and is coming into the tournament with 98 in his last innings against England. He paces his innings fantastically well and his keeping is always neat.

AB de Villiers

ABdV comes into the tournament after a poor IPL but how does one write off the man with the fastest hundred of all time? Expect fireworks from the South African skipper.

Kagiso Rabada

Only 22 years of age, Rabada has proved that he is a genuine fast bowler, one who can bowl at 150 kmph. South Africa will want to unleash him early in the league stage – the other three teams are from the sub-continent and may not be comfortable playing stuff directed at their throats.

Sri Lanka

With their stalwarts retired, a new look Sri Lankan team starts off as the underdogs. They will try hard but lack the firepower to make it out of the group.

Players to watch

Angelo Matthews

Skipper Angelo would want to script a dream story for them – without any super stars, we believe he will have to play a crucial leadership role so that everyone in the team contributes to its success. He will be feeling reasonably confident having picked up a century in a warm-up match.

Thisara Perera

We are picking Perera as one of the key players due to his experience in the last few years with IPL and his all round cricketing ability. He will be important in the slog overs and has a knack of picking up wickets. Although he averages only 17 in ODIs his big hitting can be important especially when Sri Lanka chases

Niroshan Dickwella

Dickwella is an explosive left hand wicket keeper batsman, one that Sri Lanka hopes will fill Sangakara’s boots. While that is a herculean task, Sri Lanka will look to him to continue his aggressive style of batting. He is coming back from a hairline fracture injury and will want to make an impact early in the tournament.

India

Last, but by no means the least, the defending champions. A good mix of youth and experience, anything less than a semi-final berth will be seen as a failure by the adoring fans. Speaking of fans, Kohli’s men will expect noisy homelike conditions with all India’s matches being sold out months in advance.

Players to watch

Virat Kohli

Along with Williamson, Smith, AB de Villiers and Joe Root, Kohli is one of the defining batsmen of his generation. He also seems to relish the added pressure captaincy brings. Averaging a shade below 50 in all 3 formats, he will want to get his hands on his first piece of ICC silverware as skipper.

Ravindra Jadeja

After a poor IPL (5 wickets and 158 runs), Sir Jadeja will be raring to contribute to this Champions Trophy campaign. He has his best results while bowling in tandem with Ashwin and Indian fans will be excited to see the spin duo return to action against Pakistan.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Until recently India’s success relied largely on batsmen and spinners. However, heading into this tournament there has been much excitement about India’s pace attack. Bhuvi, Umesh, Bumrah and Shami have all been in stellar form but Bhuvi for us is the real trump card. He has always been difficult to play with the new ball and has enjoyed English conditions last time around. Now, as his consecutive IPL purple caps demonstrate, opposing batsmen also fear him in the death overs.

Group B qualifier prediction: India and South Africa.

IPL 2017 Preview: Part 2

One day to go for IPL 2017! Here is the second part of our IPL 2017 preview covering KKR, GL, KXIP and DD.

Read Part 1 here.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Skipper:                                  Gautam Gambhir

2016 Finish:                          #4 of 8, losing the eliminator to eventual champions

Best Finish Ever:                  2012 and 2014 Winners

First Match:                           Gujarat Lions vs. KKR at Rajkot, Friday April 7th, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      Probably the best balanced side of all – batting, all-rounders, spinners, pacers, young, old!

Players to Watch:

  1. Robin Uthappa: No longer playing for India, Uthappa continues to shine in the IPL; 3390 runs with 17 half centuries since 2008
  2. Trent Boult: Stuck in a stacked SRH lineup last year, he barely played, but will be an excellent fast bowling replacement for Morne Morkel
  3. Chris Woakes: T20 Strike rate of 139 with the bat, 400+ first class wickets with the ball. KKR may have found the perfect replacement for Andre Russell.

Gujarat Lions

Skipper:                                  Suresh Raina

2016 Finish:                          #3 of 8, after topping the table but losing both qualifiers

Best Finish Ever:                  2016, their first and only season so far

First Match:                           Gujarat Lions vs. KKR at Rajkot, Friday April 7th, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      Batting heavy with 3 true all-rounders, but limited pure bowling quality

Players to Watch:

  1. Jason Roy: His first ever IPL, but Roy has a T20 strike rate of nearly 145.
  2. Dwayne Bravo: #3 on IPLs all-time highest wicket taker list with his focus on death overs
  3. Ravindra Jadeja: Man of the Series in tests against Australia, Sir is more than capable in the T20 format.

Kings XI Punjab

Skipper:                                  Glenn Maxwell

2016 Finish:                          #8 of 8 for the second year in a row

Best Finish Ever:                  Finalists in 2014

First Match:                           KXIP vs. Rising Pune Supergiants at Indore, April 8, 2017 at 4pm IST

Team Balance:                      Very batting heavy; not a single overseas bowler in the entire squad

Players to Watch:

  1. Eoin Morgan: With 24 T20 half centuries, Morgan was this year’s biggest buy for KXIP
  2. Sandeep Sharma: Not a big name but has a knack to pick up both early and late wickets
  3. Wriddhiman Saha: Sometimes seen as a test specialist, Saha has 2484 T20 runs at a strike rate of over 130

 Delhi Daredevils

Skipper:                                 Zaheer Khan

2016 Finish:                          #6

Best Finish Ever:                  2008, 2009 Semi Finalists

First Match:                           RCB vs. Delhi Daredevils at Bengaluru, April 8, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      Light on top order batting, strong lower order and quick bowling

Players to Watch:

  1.  Kagiso Rabada: This young quick was Delhi’s key buy this year; though his T20 stats are limited, his Test and ODI bowling figures are tremendous
  2. Rishabh Pant: Young but with a bright future; he burst on the scene with a test match triple century and 48-ball hundred in the same season
  3. Amit Mishra: Amit Mishra’s leg spinners have picked up 124 victims in his IPL career, second only to Malinga. Can run through any line-up on his day.

IPL 2017 Preview: Part 1

The IPL 2017 is nearly upon us – it kicks off on Wednesday, 5 April 2017 with current champions Sunrisers Hyderabad taking on last year’s runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore.

To get you in the mood, we’ve put together a preview of all the teams. Here is the first part covering Royal Challengers Bangalore, Surnrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants. Part 2 will be up on the blog on Tuesday.

Buckle in and enjoy the ride.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Skipper:                                 Virat Kohli

2016 Finish:                          Runners Up

Best Finish Ever:                  2009, 2011 and 2016 runners-up

First Match:                           Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. RCB at Hyderabad, April 5, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      As always, explosive batting, limited marquee bowlers (in fact, just the one)

Players to Watch:

  1. Tymal Mills: The 12-crore man, Mills is a T20 specialist, though he picked up just 7 wickets in 5 matches in the PSL, so will look to deliver this IPL.
  2. AB de Villiers: Need we say more? IPL average nearly 40, strike rate nearly 150.
  3. Tabraiz Shamsi: Though he might struggle to make the playing XI, Shamsi is a useful lesser known bowler whose Chinaman can prove tricky to read

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Skipper:                                 David Warner

2016 Finish:                          Champions

Best Finish Ever:                  2016 Champions

First Match:                           Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. RCB at Hyderabad, April 5, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      Top order and fast bowling heavy; light on spin and lower order batsmen

Players to Watch:

  1. Mustafizur Rahman: Nearly unplayable, he picked up 17 wickets at 6.90 in 2016 with his outstanding yorker.
  2. Shikhar Dhawan: Though his Team India spot is up for grabs, there’s no debating his IPL prowess. 500+ runs in 2016, 3000+ all time.
  3. Rashid Khan: He might struggle to make the playing XI, but this Afghan bowls a mean googly and would relish any chance he gets in the IPL.

Mumbai Indians

Skipper:                                  Rohit Sharma

2016 Finish:                          #5 of 8 for the second year in a row

Best Finish Ever:                  2013 and 2015 Winners

First Match:                           Rising Pune Supergiants vs. Mumbai Indians at Pune, April 6, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      Light on overseas batsmen; all-rounder and bowler heavy

Players to Watch:

  1. Krunal Pandya: The older Pandya surged to success in 2016 – he will want to pick up where he left off with both bat and ball
  2. Lasith Malinga: IPL’s all time highest wicket taker by some distance, his toe-crushing yorkers are feared by all
  3. Parthiv Patel: Quietly, PP has racked up 500+ runs for MI in just 2 seasons.

Rising Pune Supergiants

Skipper:                                  Steven Smith

2016 Finish:                          #7 of 8

Best Finish Ever:                  Sadly, #7 – 2016 was their first ever IPL

First Match:                           Rising Pune Supergiants vs. Mumbai Indians at Pune, April 6, 2017 at 8pm IST

Team Balance:                      Light on Indian batsmen and overseas bowlers

Players to Watch:

  1. Adam Zampa: Few will forget his 6-19 in the 2016 that shot him into the limelight
  2. Faf du Plessis: Tremendously experienced, with nearly 4000 T20 runs and 20 half centuries
  3. Ben Stokes: The 14.5crore buy, he will need to perform with both bat and ball to justify his price tag

IPL 2017 Auction Wrap Up: The Best, the Worst and the Shocking

Lasting a total of six hours, this was still the shortest IPL auction to date. Despite that, there was some interesting action including the most expensive overseas player and the World #1 T20 bowler not getting picked up.

There was also plenty of interest in all-rounders but let’s make it clear first up that recent history doesn’t agree with the value teams put on all-rounders.

In 2016, Sunrisers Hyderabad won the IPL on the back of Warner & Dhawan with the bat and Bhuvneshwar & Musafizur with the ball – all specialists. In 2015, Mumbai Indians relied on Simmons & Rohit with the bat, Malinga, McClenaghan & Bhajji with the ball – all specialists. In 2014, Kolkata Knight Riders relied on Uthappa with the bat and Narine with the ball – both specialists, not all-rounders.

With this in mind, here are some of the highlights of yesterday’s IPL 2017 auction.

Best 3 Buys (in terms of Value for Money)

  1. Jason Roy: After going unsold in the first round, Jason Roy was snapped up by Gujarat Lions for his base price of just Rs. 1 Crore. His Career T20 average is nearly 30 and strike rate over 144. Oh, and he’s currently in fine form in the PSL, with 173 runs from 5 innings including 2 half-centuries at the time of writing this article.
  1. Mitchell Johnson: Johnson knows a thing or two about the IPL and Mumbai picked him up for his base price of just Rs. 2 Crore. He was valued at 6.5 Crore by KXIP in 2014, so this is a steal. He knows Mumbai well; he was key to their 2013 title campaign with 24 wickets at an economy rate just over 7 runs/over. Mumbai now have Johnson, Malinga and McClenaghan, a more than handy pace trio.
  1. Ankit Bawne: If you’re wondering “who?” – you’re not alone. This 24-year old is not a marquee pick, but he was perfect for the Delhi Daredevils. DD needed a domestic batting boost, and to get a batsman with a T20 average of 33.15 at a strike rate of nearly 130 for just 10 Lakhs is a steal.

Worst 3 Buys (in terms of  Value for Money)

  1. Ben Stokes: Maybe a controversial pick, but 14.5 crore for Stokes was just pure hype and adrenaline, he is nowhere near worth that. No IPL Experience, not available for the entire season (due to international duty). In his most recent T20 series vs. India, he hit only 46 runs and picked up 2 wickets in 3 matches. Also, Pune will have a selection struggle; with Smith, Faf and Zampa almost guaranteed to play, Stokes will steal a spot from Mitchell Marsh. Not worth 14.5Cr.
  1. Trent Boult: Kolkata Knight Riders snapped up Boult in a bidding war that set his value at 5Crore. While KKR had plenty of room for overseas players, and are looking for someone to fill Andre Russell’s shoes, Boult was an odd pick. He has only played 8 IPL matches in 2 seasons, 1 in 2016, and had an average past 12 months for NZ. A steal at 1 Crore, a bad pick at 5 Crore.
  1. Karn Sharma: 5 years ago, Karn was touted as a potential all-rounder for Team India, handy with both bat and ball. Sadly, in 2016, he picked up 0 wickets in 5 matches and scored only 36 runs with the bat, leading him to be let go by the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Mumbai grabbed him for Rs. 3.2 Crore in a bidding war, far higher than his worth.

Most Shocking Unsold Players

  1. Imran Tahir: Not much to say here; it made sense for Delhi Daredevils to let go of him after his weak 2016 IPL, and given Delhi has Mishra as a leggie, but Tahir has a stellar record in limited overs cricket that would have made him an asset to any side. Oh, and he’s the #1 ranked T20 bowler in the world right now.
  1. David Wiese: This South African all-rounder bats at a strike rate greater than 150 and has nearly 120 T20 wickets. In 2015, for RCB he had a couple of good knocks and snagged 16 wickets; for a 30 Lakh starting price we expected him to get picked up.
  1. Parvez Rasool: He has a limited IPL record, with only 2-4 games in each of the past 4 years, but Rasool has a handy T20 bowling economy rate and can bat a bit too. As a domestic spinner, he would have been an asset to squads who focused disproportionately on their overseas buys.

So that’s it! Stay tuned to 1Tip1Hand for lots more about the IPL between now and the first game, which kicks off at 8pm IST on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017.

– Remember to subscribe to all our posts. Click here.

A Beginner’s Guide to the IPL Auction Process

We’re still 9 weeks away from the start of IPL 2017, but in three days the IPL teams (with their coaches and thinktanks) will get together in a giant meeting room to bid for players to add to their squads. That’s right, IPL auction season is upon us!

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick beginner’s guide to the IPL Auction Process.

What is it, exactly?

Each year in February the IPL hosts an auction process where teams get to boost their squads. They bid for players not currently attached to a team, and the highest bidding team gets the player.

Why do they need more players?

Every squad must have between 16 and 27 players, with a maximum of 9 overseas players. During the off-season, teams can release players (usually due to underperformance, injury or unavailability), and they’ll use the auction to fill up these slots.

 How much are they allowed to spend?

Each team can spend a maximum of of 66 Crore Rupees on their squad, including current players. This means the amount in their wallet for the Feb 20th auction will vary – for example, Kings XI Punjab have 8 open spots for players but a purse of Rs. 23.35 Crore, while Mumbai Indians have 7 open spots, but a purse of only Rs. 11.55 Crore remaining.

Who needs the least and most players?

KKR finished 4th last season and unloaded a mammoth 6 overseas players, and are now short Andre Russell too. They will buy up to 14 players including 6 overseas.

RCB and Mumbai will only have room to buy up to 7 players in this year’s auction.

What’s the deal with international conflicts?

Each national board has full discretion over players’ schedules; this means for example, England and South Africa are both calling back players in early-mid May to get an ODI series in as prep for the Champions Trophy.

This means even the marquee players might be in lower demand, as international conflicts mean they aren’t available for the entire IPL but would still occupy a spot in the squad.

How many players are up for grabs?

Believe it or not, the list started at 799 players.

Teams submitted wish lists and it dropped to 351 players, including 122 capped internationals.

Remember, combined the teams can only buy a maximum total of 77 players, making the odds of getting bid on just greater than 1 in 5 – yup, nearly 4 of every 5 players in the pool will go unsold in the painfully boring process of having their name announced and no bids. 

Ok, but really, there are obviously some exciting players?

Here’s the fun part. 1Tip1Hand is most excited about a few key players.

3 Most Exciting Marquee Players

·         Ben Stokes (base price 2cr): An asset with bat and ball, Stokes will no doubt stoke (haha!) a bidding war

·         Angelo Mathews (base price 2cr): Although recent form has been average at best, an all-rounder who has leadership experience make Angelo an exciting pick. Sadly, we expect he might not get picked up this year given his reputation as a slow batsman; a T20 strike rate of 120 just isn’t enough

·         Jason Roy (base price 1cr): His tenacity with the bat and recent limited overs experience against India will make him a key pick for any of the 8 IPL sides this year

3 Most Exciting Lesser Known Players

·         Colin de Grandhomme (base price 30lakh): At 30 lakhs, de Grandhomme is a steal with a whopping 170.54 career strike rate. His handy medium pace is a steal for 1-2 overs per game too.

·         Evin Lewis (base price 50lakh): This lesser known West Indian is often in the shadows of stars like Gayle and Russell, but he scored 72% of his runs in boundaries this past year. A strong, cheap opening batsman option.

·         Tymal Mills (50lakh): Mills bowls quick, in the early overs and in the death overs too. His brisk pace and tight economy asset make him a sure shot pick – and bonus over the others English players, he’s not in the England ODI team, so will be around for the entire season.

So there you have it! A beginner’s guide to the 2017 IPL Auction. If you have questions, leave us a comment and we will come back to you.

Remember to subscribe to all our posts by clicking here.