Ed Hawkins previews Saturday's clash from Sharjah and finds an edge on the sixes market, plus big top-bat prices...
"What we like about Sri Lanka is intent. The have an in-tournament boundary percentage of 16% while South Africa manage only 10%. Two-year form have them ranked at fourth and eighth respectively"
South Africa v Sri Lanka
Saturday 29 October, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa steady
South Africa are one win from two and are not looking too shabby. They also appear to have solved an internal crisis after Quinton de Kock refused to play in the success against West Indies for being asked to 'take a knee' for racial equality.
De Kock has apologised and, presumably, comes straight back into the side. Reeza Hendricks will have to make way. A win would put them in a strong position to chal-lenge England and Australia for qualification.
Given the toss bias in the tournament they may not be the worst outright bet in the world at 19.018/1.
Probable XI De Kock, Bavuma, Markram, Van der Dussen, Klaasen, Miller, Pretorius, Ra-bada, Maharaj, Shamsi, Nortje
Sri Lanka intent
Sri Lanka, on the face of it, looked to have been well-beaten by Australia on Thursday. But there was a lot to like about their batting performance.
They really took it to Australia, the No 1 bowling-ranked team, to post a competitive 154. Showing batting intent has been a major factor so far in the tournament and the likes of Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa can give it a fearful tonk.
Yes, they have issues with the ball and in the field. They were disappointing against Aus-tralia in that regard. It might be time for them to deploy an extra spinner - Dhananjaya de Silva or Akila Dananjaya - in place of Chamika Karunaratne.
Possible XI Kusal, Nissanka, Asalanka, Avishka, Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya, Wanindu, Sha-naka, Chameera, Theekshana, Lahiru.
The average total from games (five) at Sharjah is just 133. There's an 80% toss bias for the chaser. In The IPL there were ten games. The toss bias was 72% and the average score was 137. With the runs par line expected to be in the late 140s if Sri Lanka bat first and mid-150s if South Africa do so, both look a short.
Like Lanka hitting
South Africa won 3-0 in Sri Lanka before the tournament began so it is something of a leap to reckon this will be tight. Even so, with the toss bias and team characteristics displayed so far, a case can be made for the outsiders.
Sri Lanka are 2.6613/8. With the toss in their favour (batting second) they will probably go off at 2.407/5. There are worse bets.
As we said, what we like about Sri Lanka is intent. The have an in-tournament boundary percentage of 16% while South Africa manage only 10%. Two-year form have them ranked at fourth and eighth respectively. To that end, 13/8 about Sri Lanka hitting most sixes is possibly the bet of the day.
Aiden Markram is the most reliable top-bat bet in the tournament with a hit rate of 50% in the qualification period. Sportsbook's 9/2 is a big one. De Kock is 15/8 which may seem short but gives up six points on win rate.
For Sri Lanka Rajapaksa is 13/2. He batted at No 3 for Sri Lanka in the previous series and did okay. So he is one to watch.
With the ball Lungi Ngidi is the most potent bowler in the world in this market. He won't play but at a whopping 10/3 you get your money back.
There's been a bias for man of the match awards going to bowlers this tournament, possibly because the commentary team has more ex-bowlers than bats. A rarity. So we note Kagiso Rabada's 12/1 for man of the match, likewise Anrich Nortje at the same. Ngidi is 14s.
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Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l