New Zealand v Scotland
Wednesday November 3, 10:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Black Caps on course
New Zealand are right back in this tournament after an extremely convincing win over India.
Good news for them, good news for us because we had them at 3.1511/5 to win that match.
India have looked nothing like the pre-tournament favourites they were with poor shot selection, little 'cricket smarts' in terms of their approach to batting and only really Jasprit Bumrah showing any threat with the ball. They've also been picking the wrong players, by the way.
But give credit where it's due. New Zealand bowled in the right areas, worked out the pitch pretty quickly and most important of all, held their catches. Time and again India's batters found the fielder on the boundary, time and again a Black Caps fielder held on.
New Zealand should win this match and also against Namibia with the minimum of fuss. And they need to start thinking about net run rates already. If they beat Afghanistan then they're probably home and dry with a place in the semis. But if they don't, then it could come down to NRR.
Likely XI: Guptill, Mitchell, Williamson, Conway, Philipps, Neesham, Santner, Milne, Southee, Sodhi, Boult.
Scots are struggling
To say Scotland are out of their depth is an understatement. But we can't expect miracles.
Most of the side play in Scotland with the exception of a couple of players who have gigs in the County Championship.
They were properly spanked around the park against Afghanistan and never recovered from an awful start against Namibia. Though we did note they made a good fist of trying to defend a very low total.
A big disappointment has been Richie Berrington. He's been around for a long time and has a decent record at international level but is out of form. He got a golden duck against Namibia.
Josh Davey, one of the few to play county cricket, has had a good tournament.
Likely XI: Munsey, Cross, MacLeod, Berrington, Wallace, Leask, Greaves, Watt, Davey, Sharif, Wheal.
What's par score in Dubai?
The problem with trying to work out what might be a good score at Dubai is that teams have put in awful batting performances here that had little to do with the wicket.
Australia were reckless and clueless against England (who did admittedly bowl very well) and India were pedestrian against the Black Caps, falling at least 30 runs short of any sort of competitive total.
So simple as it may sound, New Zealand could post at least 170 batting first. But if it's Scotland getting first use of the wicket against the likes of Boult, Milne and Sodhi, they could fail to get to 120.
Nothing doing on the match winner market
Look, if there isn't any sort of possible angle where an upset could be on the cards, then we won't look for one.
The Kiwis are infinitely stronger in every department and not even a toss bias can make one think it will be anything other than plain sailing for Kane Williamson's men, who are 1.071/14.
Milne's pace could be lethal
These Kiwi bowlers have some seriously impressive numbers when it comes to career strike rates in T20Is.
For Trent Boult it's 16.0, Ish Sodhi's is 15.9 and Tim Southee's strike rate is 18.1 Mitchell Santner's is 17.9.
But my man here is Adam Milne (16.9). Two reasons. He's the quickest of their pace bowlers and Scotland's batters won't be too used to facing a man steaming in and bowling at an average speed of 140 kilometres an hour. That's 86.9 mph and quicker than Mitchell Starc.
The other reason, as ever, is price. 3/1 is a fair price and a bit bigger than Boult and Sodhi, with little to choose between them in terms of strike rate.
Guptill to have his day in the sun
Martin Guptill has a poor record in the UAE but that might not matter too much here. He's a bit of a flat-track bully, the sort who may struggle against the very best but who can be extremely ruthless when the quality of the bowling drops a level. Which will surely be the case here.
If they bat first, he could go to town and help himself to 70 or 80 here. If they're chasing 120 or so, he may only have fellow opener Daryl Mitchell to beat.
Best of all, he's been price boosted from 5/2 to 3/1.
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