Number one T20 team in the world, second best T20 batsman in the world, second best T20 bowler in the world and playing host to the competition for the first time, it’s surely India’s to lose. The 2007 Champions enter this year’s tournament with huge expectations, and are $3.1 with Sportsbet to take home the trophy.
But are India too short?
Their batting line up wouldn’t suggest so, they’ve got one of the most explosive orders in this year’s comp, including Kohli, Dhawan, Raina, Sharma, Singh and Dhoni. However, we worry their bowling might let them down even though they should be suited to the conditions playing at home. Not surprisingly, their bowling attack is based around spin, and will get economical spells from their slower bowlers Ashwin , Singh and Jadeja. However, their seam attack will hardly strike fear into the opposition. Bumrah, Shami, Nehra and Pandya will be targeted by opposing teams, and they’re all capable of going the distance on their day. The previous two World Cup’s have been held on the sub-continent, and on both occasions Indian’s seam bowlers struggled to make a real impact. India can be beaten, this is why we’re sticking clear of backing the at such a short price.
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So, who can beat them?
Sri Lanka defeated India in the 2014 tournament in Bangladesh, however they enter this year as massive outsiders at $26 with Bet365, however Sportsbet have them priced at $18. Age has took it’s toll on the Sri Lankan’s, Jayawardene and Sangakkara have both departed leaving the door open to new stars to make their name. Sri Lanka still have some very handy spinners in Herath and Senanayake, however they’re relying on two of the most unreliable batsman in world cricket to score runs - Dilshan and Matthews. With their bowling options and England, Afghanistan and West Indies in their group they’re a chance at reaching a semi at $3.25 but would avoid backing them for anything else.
The draw has favoured the Poms, we all know their weakness against spin bowling especially in Asia, however they’ve avoided India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. If England can negotiate their way past Sri Lanka spinners they could mount a decent challenge. The Poms have finally learnt that you don’t have to pick your Test players in every competition. They’ve got a young squad full of T20 specialists, the likes of Butler, Root, Rashid, Stokes, Roy and Willey are all exciting prospects but we feel they lack experience which might cost them in the finals stage. However, the $9 on offer for them to hit the most sixes is great value!
We’re dismissing the chances of South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan. South Africa have the one-off talents to win any game but look to be struggling for bowling options. Other than Steyn and Tahir, we feel they’re pretty light for options. No McCullum is a huge blow for New Zealand, similar to SA they lack bowling options and power hitting in the middle order. Nobody has uttered a word about Pakistan’s chance of winning the competition this year, not surprisingly. We even think they might struggle to beat Bangladesh in their group game.
Australia come into the competition 2nd favourites at $5.75 but are in a strange predicament where the number one T20 batsman might not get in their starting team. If the Aussies had Starc then we would advise pilling into the price. However even with Starc, it would have only covered up their lack of quality spinners. Agar, Zampa and Maxwell may well go onto to be world class spinners, but they aren’t ready yet to bowl Australia to a World Cup win in India. Australia’s batting order will carry them out the group, they’re $1.8 to reach a semi with Bet365.
West Indies are huge overs at $13. Yes, we’ve been suckered in by the Caribbean’s before but we have strong reasoning. The West Indian stars play more T20 games than any other team in this competition, thanks to the $$ on offer. They’ve got two pretty handy T20 spinners in Benn and Badree. On top of that, their seamers are used to playing this format. Bravo, Russell, Taylor and Sammy have all devised variations to be effective on these Indian surfaces. Any batting order that consists of Gayle, Samuels, both Bravo’s, Russell, Simmons and Sammy shouldn’t be priced at $13. The West Indies will miss Pollard and especially Narine but are still worth backing, they can fall apart at any point and probably will but they’re our tip to win the competition.
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Shikar Dhawan is well worth a punt for tournament top batsman at $21. He will open up for India against a few sub-standard bowling attacks in the group stage. Dhawan averages 30 in T20 cricket in India. He’s been priced up at $17 with one bookmaker, make sure you get the best price.
Even though India are in group 2, we think there is more chance the top bowler in the competition will come from the first group. Dwayne Bravo is consistently one of the leading wickets takers in the IPL, he took 26 wickets in IPL 2015. The West Indian party boy had a great Big Bash and will get the chance to bowl at weak batting orders when playing Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, and will also be a threat bowling at the death against England and South Africa. Bravo is well worth backing at $29 with Bet365. Spin in India traditionally leads the way, and if you’re looking to back this trend to continue then the $13 for Tahir or $51 for Sri Lankan spinner Senanayake maybe of interest to you.