This article is about the ICC Cricket Fantasy Preview for the first stage, which consists of 21 initial matches of Group Stage.
The first stage of 21 matches are given 42 substitutions before open trade for the next 21 games. The Unlimited substitutions for first round games get closed once the 1st match of World Cup, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka commences. Which means 42 changes are given for 20 games.
Important point to which priority is to be given if you are aiming to end as topper of the stage or tournament is not picking up all 11 players of the first game itself. It might give you a great start by might backfire when we run out of changes.
Analysing the fixtures, each team gets to play 3 matches during this phase except New Zealand, West Indies who play 4 games and whereas Pakistan and Ireland play just 2 matches. This gives scope of picking more players from New Zealand for the first game as well as West Indies’ when they will face England in 5th match. Similarly, lesser options to be preferred for this stage from Pakistan & Ireland.
My Initial squad for the first game:
With the point system helps more for the bowlers, I preferred to go with more all-rounders & bowlers. For the first game, from Sri Lanka, I picked up Dilshan and Jeevan Mendis; who can be replaced with Angelo Mathews depending on the final squad.
From New Zealand I preferred with Brendon McCullum as keeper who can be replaced with Kane Williamson who is in a brilliant batting form. Given Corey Anderson & Mitchell McClenaghan’s ability to pick regular wickets made me to prefer both the players. Anderson is likely to score some quick runs with bat which tempted me to make him Powerplayer who will turn up giving double the points they earn.
Taking Moeen Ali, Steven Smith and Mitchell Starc for the following match in the initial squad itself to save a few substitutions for Minnow team matches. However, they can be replaced by David Warner, Mitchell Johnson and Chris Woakes. Hashim Amla, Sean Williams & Rohit Sharma made into my team due to being the sureshots to play in the final XI for the following two games.
Picking up Sangakkara (Either of Dilshan or Mendis) or Ab De Villiers (In place of Hashim Amla) for Brendon McCullum by replacing with any Kiwi batsman will always turns up good.