Pakistan’s Imam ul Haq among Dark horses to watch out for in World Cup


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Imam-ul-Haq (Pakistan)

The new recruit at the top of Pakistan’s batting order, Imam-ul-Haq, is a grossly underestimated one-day international batsmen. While his partner, Fakhar Zaman, is a certain pick in most fantasy sides, Imam is a less flamboyant, yet a more reliable option. He has six hundreds in 28 ODIs and averages 60.30 in the format, which are pretty good returns. Remember, more than striking abilities and the odd big knock, consistent runs matter more in season-long fantasy.

Mujeeb-ur-Rahman (Afghanistan)

While Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi are the more celebrated Afghanistan spinners, young Mujeeb-ur-Rahman is a rather good choice for your fantasy team. Since the Champions Trophy in 2017, he is the seventh highest wicket taker in the format with 51 wickets in 29 matches. That strike-rate indicates that he is a consistent wicket-taker and could be your differential in a daily contest.

Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand)

Lockie Ferguson has firmly established himself in New Zealand ODI side with consistently good performances. A genuine wicket-taker, Ferguson has a better strike-rate than Trent Boult and is an unheralded force with the ball. His searing pace and movement off the deck could be a handful in English conditions making him a very different, yet reliable fantasy pick. Even if he disappoints in terms of economy, expect Ferguson to make up for it with wickets.

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)

Thisara Perera’s all-round value cannot be emphasized enough. He has 40 wickets in 34 matches in ODIs since the Champions Trophy (second-most by a Lankan) and 797 runs at a strike rate of 116.18. What’s more, he hits a six per game – he has 34 sixes in 34 ODIs since Champions Trophy 2017 – making him a genuine captaincy candidate in a fantasy team. An indispensable choice in daily contests involving Sri Lanka, Perera can be a good differential in season-long contests as well.

Andile Phehlukwayo (South Africa)

The seemingly innocuous South African all-rounder was an outside candidate for a World Cup spot one year ago. However, with brilliant performances both with the ball and the bat, Phehlukwayo has become a crucial member of South Africa’s ODI team. He has 36 wickets in 26 ODIs since the Champions Trophy in 2017 while making 283 runs at an average of 28.3. He delivers under pressure, making him a great choice outside the obvious ones for daily contests.

Moeen Ali (England)

Moeen Ali, the England all-rounder had a confidence-boosting outing in the Indian Premier League with Royal Challengers Bangalore. A terrific striker of the ball and a genuine spin option, Moeen is often overshadowed by the kind of quality in England’s ranks. For daily contests, he could be a smart, underrated pick. He has 32 wickets in the 38 matches since the 2017 Champions Trophy and has scored 497 runs with the bat.

Shaun Marsh (Australia)

While the return of David Warner and Steven Smith and the ominous return to form of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja headline Australian news, Shaun Marsh has been a silent warrior with enough runs to back his case. The experienced left-hander has the second most runs after Aaron Finch for Australia since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 with 851 runs in 18 games but has largely remained unused to his fullest potential in fantasy teams.

Mohammad Mithun (Bangladesh)

A silent warrior with good temperament in big matches, Mithun has often remained unacknowledged for his contributions to the side. A decent finisher with a knack for turning up in big matches, Mithun has been a force to reckon with since the beginning of the Asia Cup last year. He has a total of 420 runs in 18 ODIs at an average of 32.30 with four half-centuries. Mithun is likely to have lower credits and could be a great choice in daily contests for matches involving Bangladesh.

Mohammad Shami (India)

While Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are touted to be the first and second choice seamers, Mohammad Shami has slowly but surely challenged Bhuvneshwar for a spot in the starting XI. Sham has a knack for picking up wickets at all stages in the innings. He has developed a handy slower bouncer for the death overs and has 22 wickets in 13 matches since his comeback into the Indian side in 2018. His wicket-taking prowess makes him an underrated pick in fantasy cricket.

Shannon Gabriel (West Indies)

Shannon Gabriel is familiar with English conditions having played Test cricket there and is an excellent wicket-taker with the new ball. In the Ireland tri-series, Gabriel has showcased his skills in the death overs too. Amidst the Russells, Gayles and Holders, Gabriel could be a nice little addition your daily fantasy. Do not hesitate to even make him the captain against sides with a weaker top order.

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