India v Sri Lanka First T20 Betting: Dhoni can be a star of India

MSD is a much more important T20 player than you'd think
MSD is a much more important T20 player than you'd think

Ed Hawkins previews the first of three T20s and hopes the tourists can show more fight, starting in Cuttack on Wednesday...

"MS Dhoni, who smashed a ton against England, is 17/1. This is a bonkers price. He is second in the run lists in games starting this year"

Recommended BetMS Dhoni top India runscorer 17/1 Sportsbook (0.5pts)

India v Sri Lanka
Wednesday December 20 13.30
TV: live on Sky Sports


India

India have just crushed Sri Lanka in the ODI series. They finish the year in that format with 21 wins from 29 and a record of eight consecutive bilateral series wins. Dominant. Still, doesn't explain much their bizarre and shambolic effort in the first match when Sri Lanka razed them.

They are not as reliable in T20 with six wins from ten this year, although they did duff up Sri Lanka in Colombo in September.

Virat Kohli has not been named in the squad for this one with Rohit Sharma leading as he did in the ODI. There are other notable absentees. Shikhar Dhawan is also rested meaning India are without two of their three top bats in games starting this year. Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul are exciting stand-ins.

Bhuv Kumar is given time off from pace duty. Jasprit Bumrah will lead the attack then with Mohammad Siraj and Jayden Unadkat looking to make an impression.


Sri Lanka

Suranga Lakmal acquitted himself well on typically harsh India pitches in the Test and ODI series. So it is with disappointment that he has been left out of this squad.

That's even harder to fathom when Lasith Malinga has not been included. Malinga may be in the twilight of his career and suffering from issues at home, but by Jove Lanka are short of experience with the ball here.

There's no Nuwan Kulasekera, either, who has taken 10 wickets this year, two behind the Slinga at the top of the charts.

Angelo Mathews, who managed only 12 overs in the ODI, is going to have to loosen up and become the main man again it seems. Mathews - as well as Upul Tharanga who is in terrific nick - must also shoulder heavy responsibility with the bat.


First-innings runs

Not much to go on here in terms of past records. There has been one T20 played at the Barabati Stadium - South Africa thrashing India after bowling them out for just 92. In three IPL matches batting looked pretty easy with an average of 173. In this year's ODI between India and England it looked a belter with the hosts posting 381 and the visitors replying with 366.


Match odds

India are 1.321/3 to win this one with Sri Lanka 3.9. Those prices pretty much mirror the ODI odds with a day to go before ball one. Sri Lanka would often drift to more than 4.03/1.

That should happen again and at those odds they are not the worst bet in the world. Although if this was an ODI we would not be saying that.

Sri Lanka's batting should be competitive in the shorter format and they have a clutch of players who can give it a good biff. There is that major worry about their bowling, though.

It's probably best if they bat first and then hope to build some scoreboard pressure. Otherwise, India could post something monstrous and it's game over.


Top India runscorer

Rohit Sharma is the 2/1 jolly here, which is mighty short. KL Rahul will probably open with him and gets a quote of 16/5. MS Dhoni, who smashed a ton against England, is 17/1. This is a bonkers price. He is second in the run lists in games starting this year. Sure, he may bat anywhere but that price has to be taken.


Top Sri Lanka runscorer

On pure runs this year, Niroshan Dickwella is value at 11/2. He has more than any of his team-mates - 196 in six matches with an impressive strike rate of 146. Tharanga gets jolly status at 3/1 followed by Mathews at 7/2. They don't appeal. Asela Gunaratne does, though, at 7/1. He is second to Dickwella on those lists.


Ed Hawkins P-L

2017: +22pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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