Let’s just say that for the sake this article and what it’s trying to convey, it doesn’t matter who I am. I ask that the reader not worry about that. I keep my identity hidden just to make sure my FB profile remains PG13.

So, here is my take on the folks that have reached the playoffs. I am going to make a blanket statement and say that all teams have issues to deal with in D1 and the race for the cup is wide open.

In my opinion, Star and ICC have some hope of doing well in PD if they make it there. For ICC, I base this reasoning on them being able to bring foreign players in their fold. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to do well in PD now. ICC will need more of the same and perhaps even at the expense of some local players. Stars (because of the strawberry factor) will need less but they will need to build a much better bowling unit.

Stars

Stars have had a good season. Abdul, Vidhya and Hasan have performed with the bat. They have other batsmen too that have contributed but haven’t played as many games. I expect them all to show up for playoffs and this team to have a solid batting line up.

Abdul has been the most consistent and has basically been responsible for their first few wins. 2 out of the 3 games they have lost have been on matting and in general because of their bowling. If they bat first, they generally put a good score on the board and take the game away.

Abdul is a thinking steady captain – quite able to manage the team and prevent chaos. He is proactive with his field setup too. I would also go to an extent and say that he is the best leader in D1 right now.

The main limitations are in the bowling department. They lack good attacking spin or express pace and so many times end up leaking runs too. But because their batting puts runs on the board, they still end up winning.

They have lost the winning momentum and they are heading into a 3 week break, which will not help them.

 

Dulles

Dulles operates in a manner quite similar to Star. They have batsmen who are steady and can graft an innings. Yasin, Mahesh and Clement have shown the appetite to score runs against good bowling. They are a tad unlucky, if the whole thing about Kensington scoring in true.

However, I think Dulles batting has done fine on all surfaces and in general plays fast bowling very well. There middle/lower order has not contributed a whole lot.

Dulles’s bowling also lacks depth in both spin and pace. They have a bunch of guys that are capable of bowling tight spells at best but are not wicket taking or tear away bowlers.

Dulles I don’t think will have a huge problem beating Kensington. Top order will need to make runs against the week Kensington bowling attack.

 

Sixers

Sixers are yet another team with similar modus operandi. The first 4 teams in D1 have all lost 3 games each, but Sixers and Fairfax have had more games washed out. Sixers’ batting is inconsistent though. Lower order makes runs often. They have climbed up in the ranking by winning the last two games while other high ranked teams have lost. They will go into playoffs high on confidence.

Their bowling is also quite weak.

 The thing with Sixers’ though is that they score their runs in boundaries and that puts pressure on opposition usually. This big hitting approach works in their favor because if you don’t bowl them out, and in quick time, the score board keeps going. They also don’t worry much about who is bowling and what ground they are playing at or how big the boundaries are.

Game of Quarters – Sixers Vs Rhaegar’s ICC. I think Shan’s dragons will win this. Usman will have a key role to play in managing the characters and making sure they are all pulling in one direction.

 

Fairfax

Fairfax is a team with good skills, but match performance is not very good.

Fairfax is full of bits and pieces cricketers, IMO. Except for Vivek at the top, nobody has scored enough to pose a threat and that’s a concern for Fairfax. Aj has done well in patches with batting and bowling.

Contrary to popular belief, I think they have good fast bowlers and decent spinners. They have a lot of bowling options, if everyone is available. The 3 games they lost were all very close. That and the fact that they play their first QF at home should give them confidence.

Fairfax deserves a special mention for playing a 13 year old called Abhimanyu, who in my opinion is very good young talent.  He got taken for runs against Empire but otherwise has shown that he can complete at D1 level by taking 2 or 3 wickets every game.

Their playoff game against Empire will be very competitive. Empire beat them last time, but by only 2 runs. Empire will go after their bowling like they always do with the aggressive batting approach they have. Will it work again? Have Fairfax learnt from the defeat?

 

Empire

This team rides on 2 batsmen and a bowler. No need to name them, everyone knows who they are.  In Shamy they have a wicket taking bowler that gives them balance. The opening bowling is decent – not much pace but good out swing movement.

There biggest issue is that they don’t have a spinner and so there is no variety. Once a batsman is used to the pace and swings dies down, scoring runs gets easier.

They are used to small boundaries at Woodmore. Perhaps that explains why they don’t have a spinner. It’s tough for a spinner to bowl at Woodmore, given the extra small boundaries.

ICC

Like Fairfax, ICC is also full of potential. This is the only team in D1 that imports many players and yet had trouble making it to the playoffs. Perhaps an example of money not well spent. I will compare them to Titans in PD on a lesser scale.

Shan is my favorite guy in WCL. When in form, causes more damage to his team than the opposition.

That said, ICC is a dark horse. They have playoff experience and some late additions. Nobody really knows what they can or can’t do.

 

Kensington

Kensington, I don’t think will do much in the playoffs. They rely very heavily on Ryan to score the runs. Their bowling is average at best and nothing much in the fielding department either. 

The only thing that works in their favor is that they play all year at Hyattsville and so they have a good measure of the ground.

 

My Picks for the Semi are: Star | Dulles | ICC | Fairfax


 

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