West Indies v New Zealand T20 Betting: Kiwis the call

McCullum leads New Zealand
McCullum leads New Zealand

Ed Hawkins previews the first of two T20 contests in Dominica and expects Brendon McCullum's side to prove the odds wrong on Saturday, live on Sky Sports...

"This is a choice affair and although West Indies are the former world champions, New Zealand are a tough nut to crack"

Recommended bet
Back New Zealand at 2.226/5

West Indies v New Zealand
Start Time: Saturday, 19:00
TV: live on Sky Sports 2

West Indies
There is no Chris Gayle for the West Indies. He has been rested for the two-game series. Dwayne Bravo, the all-rounder, is also missing due to injury. However, Kieron Pollard is set for a comeback following his long-term knee problem. He has not played for West Indies for a year but has been considered after proving his fitness in domestic cricket.

Sunil Narine, the best T20 bowler in the world, will threaten New Zealand's batsman. Bowling all-rounder Christopher Barnwell, and batsman Darren Bravo are other inclusions in the 13-man squad. There is no place for Marlon Samuels but Lendl Simons, Dwayne Smith and Darren Sammy are top performers.

New Zealand
The Kiwis have just beaten West Indies 2-1 in a three Test series. It epitomised the difference between the sides. The Kiwis were relentless and professional. West Indies were not and were accused of being lazy by Denesh Ramdin. There is a lot to like about the Black Caps line-up. Brendon McCullum, of course, leads superbly and is one of the most enterprising captains in the world game. Trent Boult and Tim Southee form a fine pace attack while there is plenty of muscle with the bat. Corey Anderson, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson can give it a biff with the best of them.

First-innings runs
This will be the first T20 international played at Windsor Park, Roseau in Dominica, a sparkling new stadium. It is to be hoped it plays better than its history. It used to be a rubbish dump and was known as Cow Town. So we can only rely on the ODI records for the ground. In four games the first-innings averages is 262, suggesting a reliable track for the batsmen. There has been one score of 300 or more. In Tests, however, it has not been such easy going with 350 still to be breached in three matches.

Match odds
The first thing to note that the weather forecast is not as good as you would expect for sunny Dominica. Rain is in the air with showers expected throughout the day and, indeed, when the sun goes down. Still, that does not dissuade us from our wager. In fact, it helps.

If we subscribe to the view - and we do - that the shorter the format the more chance of an 'upset', the Kiwis rate a cracking bet as outsiders. They are 2.226/5 at present with West Indies available to back at 1.794/5. This is a choice affair and although West Indies are the former world champions, New Zealand are a tough nut to crack. West Indies know this all too well. They have met eight times and won only twice with three of the contests ending in ties. New Zealand have won the last two.

It is a fascinating match-up insofar as the Windies are considered the superstar T20 outfit with players who can win a game from one over while New Zealand are solid, reliable and efficient. We pick the latter every time when the odds are inflated.

Top West Indies Runscorer
Simmons was something of a star in the recent IPL, almost reviving Mumbai Indians's challenge single-handed. With Gayle and Samuels missing, Simmons is West Indies' top runscorer over the last 12 months with 245 although an average of 17.50 leaves a lot to be desired. Darren Bravo, just behind Simmons on that list, is in nick following a ton against New Zealand in the Tests. Smith will go off as sub 4.03/1 jolly.

Top New Zealand runscorer
McCullum is New Zealand's top bat over the last 12 months with 162 runs followed by Taylor on 152. Williamson, however, has a better average than both at 48 at 142 runs. His for in the Tests - two centuries and an average of 82 - make him value.

Recommended Bet
Back New Zealand at 2.226/5

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