Rob Handley has four fancies for the first 50 over contest at the Ageas Bowl this Wednesday
England vs Pakistan 1st ODI - Wednesday 13:30, Sky Sports 2
The Ageas Bowl hosts the first ODI between England and Pakistan. The Southampton venue is usually a happy hunting ground for any tourists as you have to go back to the year of London Olympics to find an England win there. Usual occupants Hampshire have been struggling this year in all formats but have still amassed over 500 in the county championship and 300+ twice in the domestic 50 over competition on this deck. I expect big runs on the south coast this Wednesday seeing profit in the batting markets.
The artillery is certainly in the England barracks, with big hitters littering the line up from top to bottom. Couple the upfront fire power with a lower middle order which is strong and seemingly endless, makes a 4/6 punt on England to be the team to score the most 6’s look an absolute banker.
Continuing on the England batting theme, Jason Roy and Jos Butler will strike fear into any Pakistan bowler after smashing them all over the place in Dubai last year and Roy, who in his last three 50 over innings domestically has smashed 93* and 120*, is my pick to top score for England in this one at 7/2. Staying with the same market,Moeen Ali is priced at 14/1 which is phenomenal value for a player that’s in such great form and has the ability to score ODI runs quickly no matter what the game situation. This may well be worth a small price punt.
Pakistan batsmen Babar Azam has managed to go relatively unnoticed, though has a healthy average of 44 in ODI’s. He scored a brilliant 83 against New Zealand in Auckland last year whilst looking competent in English conditions against the Lions. Traditionally you never know what to expect from Pakistan with the bat, but Azam’s record suggests consistency and is my pick to top the batting for the tourists this time out at 6/1.