WCL PD T20 2016- Preview

Srikanth K.

It hasn’t been a long time since we last played cricket in 2015. WCL T20 season is already upon us and Washington Metro area will be full of cricket for the next 6-7 months with so many different leagues cropping up like mushrooms. Folks who live, breathe and think cricket will be rejoicing the season as they will have ample scope to display their skills in multiple leagues. On any given week, most players might end up playing 4 games, which was not a norm around 3-4 yrs back. But looking at the positives, the amount of cricket will also increase the flow of new talent and competition into WCL.

Last year ZOLON has turned on the heat in the T20’s too and were able to make it a double whammy along with the 40 over championship. All the guns will be aimed towards Zolon and here is how each of the PD teams weigh just before the season starts next weekend. The rankings for the T20 and 40 overs have been separated and hence some of the teams which are relegated from PD to DIV I in 40 overs might still be part of the T20 in PD.

VIKINGS: Team has been on the losing streak last year and has been relegated to DIV I in the 40 overs season. But they are still part of the T20 parcel in PD and will play the season opener. They have a good mix of players, but will have to be heavily carried by Aryubi bro’s, Rizwan. They will miss a couple of all-rounders this year and will probably find it tough to keep the momentum going through the season. If they can find their t20 grooves earlier in the season, they can be pretty handful. But they will have their task cut out against the powerhouses in the PD.

COSMOS: This team is very much likely to succeed 8/10 times and have the much needed batting and all-rounders for the T20 season. Their new hires will add the stability to their middle order. Ashwin, Balaji, Gopi, Pradeep, Sarav and Ravi teja will still be the core of Cosmos along with Dharma and Rowdy Rathore. This team has the knack of pulling out tricks and with some new recruits who are good prospects they will do well to create a flutter. They will need to work on good starts and convert the 130’s to 170+ scores and do it consistently to take them further into the season.

DULLES: A very young and energetic team on and off the field. They enjoy their game and will be strong contenders for the T20 title as usual. This team has the right mix of players who can change gears between 20 and 40 over formats. Their core still remains intact in Zaid, Harris, Yaseen, Nihant, Angelo. With Juicy not in their ranks, the batting looks little fragile while their bowling and fielding have always been on top. If they get into their groove early and keep it going through to the playoffs, they will be among the top 4 in T20.

NITRO: Another team in PD which has not got the much needed results to show. They have been consistent over the years in PD and have caused many upsets against the top ranked teams, but somehow have not managed to push themselves into the top 3-4 for either t20 or 40. This year will again depend on their spearheads like Dishant, Sandeep, Vishal, Ruchir and Rushi. Couple of new additions specializing in T20 will certainly bolster their ranks, but consistency is the key. If Nitro can start their season with a couple of big wins and make the playoffs, they have the resources to take this team towards their goal.

POTOMAC: The new entrants to PD will be an interesting mix of players to watch this year. They have been so very consistent in 40 for the last two seasons and have made their way up. They might initially struggle to make inroads in PD, but I would watch out for this team, since they have updated their ranks with a couple of interesting players from PD and other leagues. If their recruits like Sunny, Ravi Inder come to the party and with contributions from their regulars this team can make heads turn and even upset some. Their bowling could be the weak-link in PD and if that can be taken care of, this team will go far.

TITANS: One of the teams I like to talk about in this league. The aspirations of this team are very high and they do fulfill most of them until they somehow manage to snatch defeat from nowhere in the Playoffs. This team has the big talents and names to boast of and will again come roaring this year to make their intentions clear and try to grab the championship. Addition of Anees and Cheruka will certainly add more firepower to an already existing firebrand team. The team has the swingers and the spinners as well as the hitters, what they might be missing is match winners. I will give this team a thumbs up this year and might even predict them to go all the way (finalists). But all depends on how they apply themselves in the playoffs.

BOYDS: A very hardworking team who make their own destiny in PD. This team has all the good players and especially they have performers. On any given day if 3-4 players perform to their potential they can literally take the game away from the opposition. If this team fires early, it will be tough to beat them in their yard as well as on the road. The only con to this team and their path towards the championship in t20 would be their reliance on Adil. If Adil doesn’t make a big score and if their top order collapses, it will be an uphill task for them to win many games. Some new additions to their batting in Vivek Hadkar and Kushal Reddy (also a spinner) look good and will help the teams cause.

JAMAICA: This team has a star studded roster from the A to Z in T20 cricket available in the US with the addition of JUICY. They have firepower hitting and good bowlers as well as young and strong fielders. The team has everything they need to win T20 games, but only if they can live up to the hype and keep the consistency in winning more games. They are in PD just for the T20, but I think they will surely make a strong case in DIV I this year in the 40 over season. They need big players to click and get the big runs against top PD teams. If they can keep getting the big runs, they will make their task easier to make the PO.

TIGERS: A very strong team in T20 and they have always been on the prowl. This team is hungry for some T20 success as they could not keep their place in the playoffs due to some rain curtailed games. They will be looking to make early inroads and make their path easier to the PO. Big match winners and players who can contribute in any slot are available in plenty. With the team being led by their young guns like Junaid and Charan, they sure want to make a statement in T20 and will be the top 2 contenders for the championship. Their PO choking tag will need to be cleaned up this year.

22 yards (UMBC): I would put my bets on this team any day. This team has grown in strength and have made their way back to PD after losing their footing to be relegated in their first year of PD. Team full of very energetic and vibrant set of players who will contribute towards the cause of their team. Every player will put in their unique contributions and there is no second thoughts about this team’s ability to make the playoffs. They will be one of the contenders for the title this year and if they can put in the big performances and win against teams like Tigers and Titans, my guess will be they can hold the T20 championship trophy in PD this year.

AFCA: This team has always been good starters in the T20 season and it might not be any different this year. The problem lies with them maintaining the winning starts and keep going. A loss of couple of good players could hurt their batting line up and it will need some stabilizing acts in the middle order by one of their top batsmen. T20 is not only about going bang-bang, but also rotating the strike and that could be one factor missing from this lineup. If they could put on good runs, their bowling is pretty decent to make it count. Shahid Munir and team will need to show that AFCA is still a force to count in PD this year.

VIRGINIA: This team somehow does not seem to get interested in T20. They have not been able to gather players for the T20 games and only seem interested for the 40 over games. With the addition of Waleed to their ranks, they have added some stability even while losing Anirudh, Sajjad. If only Virginia puts together a formidable XI, they could make an impression in the first round or else the same story continues.

ZOLON: Finally the team that has won the championship last year. This team was not counted as one of the favorites when the season started last year in T20, but slowly they had made their way up to the top. They will have a couple of their regular players like Julius and Shaan back in the team. New recruits like Tanzir and Tallal will be good additions along with the regular out of state players. The confidence of this team grows as the season progresses and they will surely be having the pressure of champions on their back. If they can get a good start to the t20 season, they surely have match winners who can take them towards the top 4 slots in the playoffs.

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