Wednesday will see our first double-header of the Super 10 phase. The first match of the day will see a dangerous Bangladesh side take on the volatile Pakistanis in Kolkata.
This will be followed immediately by what promises to be a titanic clash between the England and the West Indies in Mumbai. There’s plenty of value to be had when it comes to T20 cricket, and Wednesday will be no different! Let’s try and find ourselves a few winners!
Pakistan 11/20 | Draw 35/1 | Bangladesh 29/20
The Pakistanis come into the World T20 off the back of a woefully disappointing Asia Cup in which they only managed to secure two wins – those coming against minnows, the UAE and an equally poor Sri Lankan side.
What is perhaps more worrying for Pakistan’s management is the inability of their top order to impose themselves in the shortest format of the game. Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad simply don’t look good enough at this level and could well hamstring the middle and lower order if they eat up too many balls first up.
Much will hinge on whether or not Mohammad Hafeez fires in the tournament. The right-hander is easily his side’s best batsman, as he proved in a warm-up game against Sri Lanka smashing his way to a 49-ball 70. His ability to dispatch the spinners will also play into his favour against a spin-heavy Bangladesh attack. He sweeps better than most players in world cricket and is happy to hit against the spin.
The Pakistani’s strength definitely lies in their bowling attack. Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Shahid Afridi are among the most dangerous bowlers at the tournament. Their ranks will also be bolstered by Mohammad Irfan, who can trouble even the most seasoned Sub-Continent batsman on flat, lifeless wickets.
Bangladesh well feel happy enough with their preparation for the Super 10 phase of the tournament. They’ve had more time than Pakistan to acclimatise to conditions in India and will be confident of beating their more illustrious opponents. Adding to the Tigers’ confidence will be their overall performance in the Asia Cup just prior to the World T20 where they cruised past the likes of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, losing in the final to India.
Tamim Iqbal is the player to watch in this team. The opening batsman set the qualifying phase of the World T20 alight with his delightfully belligerent displays with the bat. His scores in the three qualifying games read: 83, 47 and 103*. Keep in mind that these scores did come against associate nations and he will no doubt be faced with more adept bowlers in this phase of the competition.
There are no real weak links in this Bangladeshi side and they look primed to cause an upset or two. The core of the side have been together for several years now with the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza and Mahmudullah all more than capable of turning a game on its head.
Verdict: Bangladesh 29/20
I have no idea why Pakistan have been priced up as favourites here. Bangladesh look to be the more balanced side heading into this game. This, coupled with the fact that Mashrafe Mortaza and his side recently breezed past a Pakistan in the Asia Cup suggest that there is a lot of value here. Back the Bangladeshis to open their Super 10 account with a win.
England 8/10 | Draw 35/1 | West Indies 1/1
England have seen their T20 stock steadily rise over the last few years. This is mainly down to the emergence of players like Alex Hales, Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes. These guys all have the ability to turn the game in the blink of an eye, something that the West Indies, and indeed, every other team in Group 1 will need to be weary of.
The English have only managed to get two warm-up games in since their 2-0 defeat in the T20 leg of the bi-lateral series in South Africa. Both Roy and Hales were among the runs in those two warm-up games, which is perfect for England as they are heavily reliant of their two openers to lay a solid foundation from which Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Buttler and Stokes can launch.
While England’s top and middle order catch the eye, it’s the performances of Adil Rashid that will define England in this tournament. The leg spinner has quickly become one of the best T20 bowlers in the world over the last year and only looks to be getting better. He shot to prominence during the KFC Big Bash where he helped the Adelaide Strikers to the semi-finals with some excellent bowling in conditions that never really suited his game.
While the younger players have been firing of late, Eoin Morgan has been poor. The English captain endured a miserable tour of South Africa and hasn’t fared too well in the two warm-up games prior to this tournament. In fact, his only 40+ score in his last 10 limited overs innings came in a List A game for England against South Africa A. He needs to step up to the plate or risk losing not only the captaincy, but his place in the squad.
The West Indies, along with New Zealand, are the two dark horses going into this tournament. The problem with the men from the Caribbean, is that you’re never quite sure which team is going to pitch up. When things are going well, they’re one of the most dangerous sides in the world, however, when things aren’t going so well; they have a tendency to drop their lips.
I hope we see the same sort of side that lifted the trophy in Colombo in 2012. The core of the squad is still in place with Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo and Samuel Badree will all have massive roles to play if the Windies are to do well in India.
While all eyes will be on Chris Gayle, I actually think that Andre Russell and Samuel Badree have the most important roles to play in this side. Russell is easily the best T20 player in the world at the moment. An absolute tank of a man, he hits the ball a country-mile and can reach speeds of up to 145kph with the ball in hand.
Badree on the will need to show a marked improvement on the form that saw him briefly ascend to the top of the ICC T20 bowling rankings. The legspinner will no doubt relish playing on these sorts of wickets. He will be tested to his limit against a big-hitting English line-up.
Verdict: England to make the highest six over score at 9/10
Honestly, this game is too close to call. England, however, look better suited to making a higher six over score. Alex Hales and Jason Roy will attack from the word go while Chris Gayle tends to be watchful in the first few overs. At 9/10, this bet offers decent value and looks a good shout to come in.