T20 World Cup Tips: Australia v Ireland, Afghanistan v India

Back Mohammad Shahzad to be Afghanistan's top scorer today

Zimbabwe may have been well beaten on the opening day, but can Ireland or Afghanistan pull off a shock today? Richard O'Hagan has all of the news.

"Australia are at [1.12]. Ireland are at [8.6]. In the latter case, that's longer odds than Zimbabwe were to beat Sri Lanka. Go Ireland, we say."

Australia v Ireland
It is hard to remember that Australia were beaten finalists last time out. Then, they had a settled side and a clear sense of purpose. Now they have a different coach and perhaps more importantly a different captain. Whilst Mickey Arthur might rate George Bailey highly, it is not obvious that he has the nous or leadership skill that Michael Clarke has. For this game they omit David Hussey, the highest runscorer in T20 history, in favour of Dan Christian, a man whose highest score in this format is just 4. Between the return of veteran Brad Hogg at the age of 41 and the inclusion of the relatively untried (though massively self-confident) Glen Maxwell, this is a side picked more on a hunch than on any real evidence.

Ireland have the massive confidence of a side who know that they can do well in this tournament. Captain Will Porterfield missed the CB40 final in England to put his team's preparations first. Similarly, left arm spinner George Dockrell stayed with the side rather than pick up his ICC Emerging Player of the Year award. That dedication has been rewarded with five wins from five warm up games, including victories over Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Match Odds
Australia are at [1.12]. Ireland are at [8.6]. In the latter case, that's longer odds than Zimbabwe were to beat Sri Lanka. Go Ireland, we say. They may make for a juicy trade.

Top Australian Batsman
In this sort of market you have to look to an opening bat. David Warner is the man to go for as he is a much more versatile player than his likely partner Shane Watson and will find Ireland's mix-and-match attack more to his liking. He should be available at around [4.0]

Top Irish Batsman

Paul Stirling
, who plies his trade with Middlesex, was in majestic form in the warm-ups, blasting Bangladesh all around the ground. The attention will be on his more experienced partner Porterfield, so back him at odds of [5.0]

Afghanistan v India
The Afghans have had a tricky warm-up period, but they acquitted themselves well last time out against the West Indies. In that game their bowling was no match for the likes of Chris Gayle and whilst that is no disgrace (Gayle will destroy much better attacks than theirs in this tournament) they could find a similar problem with Virender Sehwag and co.

India were rocked in their final warm-up by a brilliant counter-attack from Pakistan's Kamran Akmal and the way that their bowlers failed to defend a total of over 180 will be a worry. Irfan Pathan's batting may keep him in the side, but L Balaji may have bowled himself out of contention and give way to Ashok Dinda.

Match Odds
India are at [1.03], Afghanistan at [26.0]. It really is that kind of mismatch.

Top Indian Batsman
Having seen what Chris Gayle got up to against this attack, look no further than Sehwag at odds of around [4.0]. Whilst it may be tempting to go for a sentimental punt on Yuvraj Singh as he returns from cancer treatment, against this lot he will probably not even get a bat.

Top Afghan Batsman
Mohammad Shahzad is the one class batsman Afghanistan have. If he fails they will be sunk anyway, but the odds of [5.0] on their pugnacious wicketkeeper also being their leading runscorer are, in those circumstances, generous, making this also my Recommended Bet for today.

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