Up next, tips and predictions on cricket betting markets for today’s Pakistan v New Zealand game. The betting odds have Pakistan as favourites and that’s completely right. I’ll tell you why odds of 1.75 are still very fair about the men in green and why they’re such a hard team to beat.
There are also tips on the toss winner and I’ve picked a Pakistan batsman at big odds to hit the most sixes in the game, a tip that’s especially for our Indian readers.
Pakistan put in a near-perfect performance against India on Sunday to get off to the best possible start.
It’s worth remembering two things: India were the pre-tournament favourites and Pakistan had never beaten them in either a T20 or ODI World Cup. Ever. In 29 years.
And they didn’t just beat them. They dominated the game pretty much from start to finish.
Setting the tone was the brilliant Shaheen Shah Afridi, who dismissed all of the top three: Rohit Sharma in the first over, KL Rahul shortly after and then eventually Virat Kohli just when he was looking to hit out at the end.
Unsurprisingly, his three-wicket haul of the top order earned him the man-of-the-match award.
And if Afridi did most of the good work with the ball (all the other bowlers chipped in as well) then it was the Babar Azam and Mohamamd Rizwan show with the bat. Azam ended unbeaten on 68, Rizwan on 79.
It really was an immaculate performance and Pakistan are now in a three-way tie as favourites alongside India and England.
Sadly for us gamblers, Sharjah is a bit of an enigma. Sadly because the better we can work out what a wicket might do, the better a chance we have of predicting what might happen and betting accordingly.
Just as an example, it was an extremely low-scoring ground in the IPL this year, with only three of the 10 teams batting first scoring more than 140.
This trend was backed up when Ireland played Namibia on Friday, the Irish scoring just 125. It was chased quite comfortably.
But then all that went out of the window when Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh on Sunday. Not only did Bangladesh post a big score of 171 but Sri Lanka chased it with more than an over to spare.
To make matters even more complicated, the trend has been for sides batting first to win rather than the conventional wisdom that it’s good to chase in the UAE.
Before the World Cup, 9/14 games were won by the team batting first and that’s now 9/16 after Namibia and Sri Lanka won chasing. So still advantage for the team batting first.
But captains are wary of dew, so whoever wins, will probably want to chase. We’ll have to wait and see.