The biggest prize in cricket is up for grabs this summer as the World Cup gets underway in England on May 30.
As fans, it’s not just watching the best players battle it out to look forward to. Fantasy cricket means you have the opportunity to get involved as well.
Dream11 is the official partner of the ICC tournament’s fantasy league soon after the platform also hosted the 2019 Indian Premier League edition.
Much like the format during the T20 competition, fantasy managers have to set up their sides per round though the fixture list does toss up a few googlies.
Fortunately, we’ll be with you every step of the way with our tips and picks to guide you through each round.
But before the action kicks off and consumes us, it’s worth making a shortlist of the top fantasy assets to keep tabs on throughout the competition.
A shortlist that features the best from each position and goes something like this …
David Warner 10.5
After smashing 692 runs in 12 IPL games, the opener’s time with the Australian team since has been a little underwhelming. There’s no doubting his quality though and a 43 against hosts England on Saturday was definitely a positive. If he gets going, you don’t want to miss out.
Virat Kohli 11
His IPL season from an individual aspect was average but back in ODIs now, surely the best batsman in the world delivers big? There will be plenty of responsibility on his shoulders as India’s top order has been a little hit and miss.
Kane Williamson 10.5
The Blackcaps’ skipper has his IPL campaign hampered by injury but now appears to be fit and firing again. The dependable batsman is renowned for his consistency and his 67 in the warm-up game against India showed how good he is at being the anchor for his side.
Rashid Khan 9.5
Renowned as the best spinner in the world, he’s bound to be heavily involved in any success Afghanistan enjoy in this tournament. He’s guaranteed to boast a fine economy rate to earn you a few extra points while his wicket-taking ability is never in doubt with a strike rate of 23.5 in ODIs.
Kagiso Rabada 9.5
Dale Steyn may be the senior and vastly accomplished bowler in the side but Kagiso Rabada is the one who South Africa will turn to when they need a wicket. One of the fastest bowlers in the world, the 24-year-old enjoyed a superb IPL season where he picked up wickets for fun before his tournament was cut short by injury.
Jasprit Bumrah 9.5
The top-ranked bowler in the world leads India’s well-stocked bowling attack. His equally phenomenal ability to destroy the top order or pick up wickets and dot balls at the death makes him a force to be reckoned with and an fantasy asset worth the cost.
Hardik Pandya 9
When he’s in the mood, Hardik Pandya is a match-winner. He may not be as economical with the ball but he has a knack of picking up vital wickets. He’s emerged as one of the most dangerous lower-order batsmen in the game with his trademark brand of sitting deep in his crease and heaving fuller deliveries over the ropes.
Shakib Al Hasan 9
Officially recognised by ICC as the best all-rounder in ODI cricket at the moment, he’ll easily be the most selected player from Bangladesh. He brings consistency with the ball and aggression with the bat. He’s scored two fifties and a 29 in his last three innings.
Andre Russell 9.5
As long as he isn’t significantly hampered by injuries, you can count on the powerful Windies man to do some serious damage. No one clears the ropes with as much venom and frequency as the 31-year-old power-hitter. However, his lack of action in ODIs remains a concern.
Jos Buttler 9.5
In recent times the England batsman has only furthered his reputation as one of the most explosive batsmen in the game. With great hands and innovative shots, the 28-year-old has become something of a limited-overs superstar and is arguably in his prime.
Quinton de Kock 10
Keeping wicket while the likes of Steyn and Rabada storm in, he’s more than likely to see a few edges nestle in his gloves. Following a fine IPL campaign with the bat, his opening pairing with Hashim Amla will strike fear into any opposition.
MS Dhoni 9
His uncanny knack for finishing innings well was on show again at the recently concluded IPL. In the 50-over format that ability will certainly come to the fore. At 37, he’s been showing great form with the bat of late and is as sharp as ever behind the stumps.
Rahmat Shah 8.5
Players like Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman tend to hog the spotlight where the Afghanistan team is concerned. However, Rahmat Shah is quietly entering the tournament in great form. The all-rounder bats at number three and boasts the best average in the squad for both ODIs and Tests (36.38 and 48). His last four innings scores read 113, 4, 62 and 32. He’s pretty handy with his leg-breaks as well but it’s with the bat that he excels.
Aiden Markram 7.5
Opening the innings for South Africa and available at just 7.5 credits, Aiden Markram represents plenty of value. He comes with excellent pedigree as well having led the U19 team to World Cup success in 2014, also finishing as top scorer.
Ravindra Jadeja 7.5
Listed as a bowler in this tournament, the Indian left-arm spinner will no doubt be a handy piece of weaponry in Kohli’s arsenal. A defiant 51 in his side’s dismal warm-up defeat to New Zealand showed just how capable he is with the bat as well.
The 32-year-old has had to battle a spate of finger injuries over the past few months but looked in excellent form in the recently concluded ODI tri-series in Ireland which Bangladesh won.
The southpaw struck two half-centuries in the tournament before missing the final with a side strain. Giving a positive update on the player’s fitness, Rhodes feels that Shakib is going into the World Cup with an urge to prove himself worthy of the No1 all-rounder tag.
“Shakib is fine,” the Bangladesh coach was quoted as saying by the ICC.
“He’s in a great position physically. He had a little problem in Ireland but he’s got over that and is raring to go.
“He’s looking forward to a wonderful tournament. I think he’s got a bit of a point to prove and he probably thinks that as well. He seems to have been a little bit forgotten but now he’s back as the world’s No. 1 all-rounder in ODI cricket – and that’s where we think he belongs.
There are plenty of experienced campaigners in the Bangladesh squad apart from Shakib with the likes of Mashrafe Mortaza, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal in tow and Rhodes believes it will be a handy asset to have in the revamped format of the World Cup.
“People keep telling me that to win a world tournament you need experience,” Rhodes said.
“I’m glad because we’ve got a wealth of experience there.
“It will be a good thing when it gets a little tight towards the end of the group. There are 10 teams in this World Cup, but when I looked at the odds, we were ninth favourites and Afghanistan were tenth favourites – but on our day we both could beat the favourites.”
Pakistan and Bangladesh are both confident the abandonment of Sunday’s Cricket World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff won’t harm their preparations for the upcoming tournament.
The match was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to heavy rain in Wales, but with both teams having spent several weeks playing in the region, neither was left overly concerned.
Pakistan played a five-match series with hosts England, while Bangladesh competed in a triangular series with the West Indies and Ireland, who hosted the competition.
Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan also said he was remaining “positive” over his leg-spin bowling despite having struggled against England.
Watch what Shadab had to say above.
Meanwhile Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes has backed both his side and fellow outsiders Afghanistan to defy expectations by winning multiple games at the tournament, which begins on Thursday.
Pakistan were defeated by minnows Afghanistan in their first warm-up game. Bangladesh face neighbours India in their second on Tuesday at Cardiff.