Fantasy Picks: Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav should be game-changers

February 24: T20 World Cup – Bangladesh v India, Perth

Our XI: Nigar Sultana, Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Jahanara Alam, Poonam Yadav

Captain: Smriti Mandhana

Mandhana has scored the most runs in women’s T20Is since 2017. Complimenting that is her current form – three 40-plus (including two fifties) in her last four innings. She has an ordinary record – 95 runs in six innings – against Bangladesh, but should back herself to correct it.

Vice-captain: Poonam Yadav

For a wristspinner, Yadav’s numbers are tremendous. She has taken 89 wickets at a strike rate of 15.2 and an economy rate of 5.60 in T20Is over the years. Yadav is also on top of the list when it comes to bowlers with most wickets against Bangladesh in T20Is, with 17 wickets.

Hot Picks

Nigar Sultana: Sultana has the best average (22.54) and the second-highest aggregate (744) in the format for Bangladesh. She recently recorded her first century against Maldives and Bangladesh rely heavily on her to go deep in the tournament.

Salma Khatun: The Bangladesh captain is a useful lower-order batter but her stronger suit is her offspin bowling: she has 60 wickets in the format at a strike rate of 4.74. Her economy is the best among bowlers who have picked up more than 50 wickets in the format.

Harmanpreet Kaur: You cannot leave out the third-highest run-getter against Bangladesh in the format. Kaur has scored 276 runs at a strike rate of 111.7 against them, is an outstanding fielder, and can chip in with a couple of useful overs.

Value Picks

Deepti Sharma: Sharma has been in great bowling form. She has picked up 15 wickets in the last ten T20Is at an economy of 5.41. She is also capable of getting useful lower middle-order runs, as she proved in the opening game against Australia.

Shikha Pandey: Pandey may go for some runs occasionally, but is a genuine wicket-taker with the new ball. She can also smash a few lusty blows with bat in hand. Pandey has an economy of 6.21 in T20Is in 46 games with a best of 3 for 14, which came against Australia in the opening game.

Points to note

  • Bangladesh’s average first-innings score in T20Is since 2017 is 119.

  • If India bowl first, consider making Yadav your captain and Sharma your vice-captain.

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