The game that has revolutionized the game of cricket will become the focus of cricket world over the coming month as the leading nations come together for the 2016 T20 Cricket World Cup. Kicking off this week in India, the T20 World Cup will provide some incredible entertainment featuring big hitting, small grounds and a live crowd that worship the game like a religion.
The host nation of India are the warm favourite to win the T20 World Cup, and justifiably so. They are in sublime form with a dominant win against Australia down under, and a comprehensive victory in the T20 Asia Cup. They have devastating match winners with the bat, and a lethal spinning combination with the ball that is going to be tough for visiting nations to overcome in the spin-friendly conditions.
There’s not a lot of value in their price at $3.10 at Sportsbet but I wouldn’t be opposed to anyone who backed them to win the trophy. It looks the safest bet for the outright winner.
I certainly think that is a better bet than trying to back Australia or South Africa under the conditions. Australia haven’t got a settled batting order, and their spinners are inexperienced. They also struggle against good spinners, and T20’s are their least favoured cricket format. There are many reasons against Australia doing well, so I strongly recommend taking them on in betting.
South Africa are a little trickier to predict. They have proven match winners with the bat, and an excellent spinner, but they have a tendency to wilt under the pressure of World Cups, so I would also be happy to take them on.
For value, I prefer to look beyond the favourites. I’ve ruled out Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and of course, qualifiers Bangladesh and Afghanistan. However I think England, New Zealand and the West Indies all have claims in this format.
England are rejuvenated in recent times, have a well-balanced team and a couple of very good spinners. New Zealand have perhaps the most under-rated batting line up of any nation as they have raised the bar with some incredible recent performances at the top of the order. They do lack a good spinner, and will rely on their medium-quicks, which may be their undoing. Meanwhile the West Indies are the forgotten team of this competition. They are the #2 ranked T20 team and won the tournament in 2012. They have some good spinners and some of the most devastating batsmen in the game. Despite some injury problems in their squad, they are still full of match-winners and most of their bowlers are dangerous with the bat. They upset Australia in a practice matchjust a day ago, so with confidence high, they are a team to watch out for.
The West Indies and England have also drawn the easier group, avoiding both Australia and India in their group which should give them an easier pathway to the semi-finals where anything can happen!
Group 1: Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, England and Afghanistan
Group 2: India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh
My official play is to take on the favourites and look for value, but as I mentioned, if you backed India straight up then that’s a sound bet.
Optional Bet/Saver: India to win @$3.10 at Sportsbet
Top of Group
As we already mentioned, there's little value in the price for India to win outright, but we have found some value on them to top their preliminary group. It's a tough group but India should be too strong you would think, and the price of $2.25 at Ladbrokes looks high with most other books offering it at around the $1.90 mark. I would definitely recommend jumping on this price while it lasts.
Leading Run Scorers
It’s hard to look past Indian batting phenom Virat Kohli ($10 at Sportsbet) when looking at the leading run scorer markets. India will make a deep run in this tournament, and Kohli’s consistency in this format is unmatched in world cricket. He’ll also thrive in his home conditions. Sticking with India, if you also backed Rohit Sharma ($10 at Sportsbet) and Shikhar Dhawan ($17 at Sportsbet), I would be completely surprised if one of those three weren’t in serious contention at the end of the tournament. Outside of the Indians, I would have something on Chris Gayle ($15 at Sportsbet) who is capable of absolutely anything.
In team betting, Steve Smith is the favourite for the Aussies, but the skipper is far from the most dynamic T20 cricketer. I’m happy to take him on. The only other batsman assured of his place in the team is David Warner and although he may bat at number four, I think he’s a nice price of $4.50 at Sportsbet to score the most tournament runs for Australia.
Leading Wicket Takers
With the ball, I really like Adil Rashid to be England’s best. He was fantastic in the Big Bash League, and should enjoy the favourable conditions in India. At $3.75 at Sportsbet, I think he’s a great bet to take the most wickets for England in the tournament, and might even be worth a nibble for the tournament most wickets at $21 at Sportsbet.
Total Tournament Sixes
One other bet I think worth consideration is the Total Sixes market. The line has been set at 250.5 sixes in the tournament and with small grounds and big hitting like we’ve never seen before, I’m expecting to see the tournament sail over that mark, so I’ll take the overs at $1.87 at Sportsbet.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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