Pakistan v Namibia
Tuesday, 14:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Formbook points to a mismatch
Is there such a thing as a certainty in cricket? Many will look at this game and conclude there is. Pakistan are riding high, with a 100% record against the three strongest teams in Group 2, trading at 3.65 to win their second World Cup. Namibia, an associate nation who did remarkably well just to reach the Super 12, are 1000.0 after Sunday's hammering at the hands of Afghanistan.
The gulf between the two is vast. In my view considerably more so than odds of 1.071/14 imply. However there are no certainties, especially in T20 and, as anyone with a knowledge of cricket betting history will understand, not where Pakistan are concerned.
Winning the group is a meaningful incentive
I don't believe they will take their foot off the gas. With England looking overwhelmingly likely to win Group 1, there is a massive incentive to win this group and avoid them in the semis.
Expect a rout but avoid betting on the match odds. The very nature of the sport means there could be some drama in-running. Were Namibia to win the toss and put Pakistan in, Ruben Trumpelmann could do damage with the new ball and suddenly we'd have a match. Avoid that potential stress and focus instead on the side markets.
Namibia will struggle to score much beyond 100
First, consider 1st Innings Runs. If Namibia bat first, it is well worth backing a very low score.
Shaheen Afridi could devastate their top order with the new ball. The spin of Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan will be extremely troublesome. They won't get much change out of Haris Rauf at the death - if the innings lasts that long. Namibia were skittled by a weaker Sri Lankan attack for 96 and made only 98-9 against Afghanistan.
At a guess, I reckon the par run line will open around 115-120 if Namibia bat first. It was around 125 against Afghanistan, batting second. My plan is to lay 110 or more First Innings Runs at 1.51/2 - either pre-match or via a lay order in-play.
Pakistan openers are an obvious bet
Besides that, I'm looking at the Top Runscorer and Man of the Match markets. Pakistan's openers have started superbly and they could enjoy a massive advantage here if chasing a low total.
Babar Azam is enhanced to 12/5, while Mohammad Rizwan is a 13/5 chance. Were they even to bat first, these odds would be correct. Bat second, chasing a low total, and they'd be completely wrong. I wouldn't deter anyone from dutching the pair at the combined odds of 1.758/11. However for the purposes of this column, I'll stick with Rizwan. He's been going off like a train and could make hay against the Namibian bowlers.
Wiese to cope best with the onslaught
For Namibia, the 5/1 about David Wiese is standout value. He's by far the best batsman in the side and has won this market in two from five games. Unlike most teams, batting in the middle order shouldn't be a disadvantage because Namibia will do well to avoid being bowled out.
So far as man of the match is concerned, there has been a marked advantage to bowlers. In this case, unless Pakistan bat first and somebody hits a big score, there's a huge chance it will be one of their five bowlers.
Combine bowling trio for man of the match
If that proves the case, even 6/1 about Afridi is fair. Ditto 9/1 about Rauf or 11/1 about Hasan Ali.
However, I will swerve the latter pair as the wickets may have fallen by the time they bowl and instead add their spinners to the plan. Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan are 13/1 and 16/1 respectively.
Finally, just a word to note that the enhanced Namibian batsman is Craig Williams at 7/2. That doesn't appeal to me, as he'll have to face Afridi - arguably the most dangerous new ball bowler in the tournament.
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