T20 World Cup Tips: England and India fight for supremacy

Will Yuvraj Singh be India's top runscorer?

With both sides having won one game, England take on India in the battle for top spot in Group A. Meanwhile, Pakistan finally join the action as they open their competition against New Zealand. Richard O'Hagan previews the day's action.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be holding these two up as exemplars, but the performances of Gulbodin Nabi and of Australia's Shane Watson in comparision to their teammates in their first two games suggest that as a batsmen you either have worked these Sri Lankan pitches out pretty quickly or you are not going to work them out at all."


England v India
Sky Sports 2
15:00hrs BST

England will have been bouyed by their remarkable game against Afghanistan, but will not be blind to the shortcomings exposed in that game either. Whilst a win by 116 runs in this form of the game is enormous, the fact is that they looked uncomfortable against the new ball (how often is the opening over of any T20 game a wicket maiden?) and their second level attack were taken to the cleaners by young Gulbodin Naib. Getting to 80 from a score of 28-8 was something of a comeback for the Afghans, but it also represented a slackening off that England just can't afford against India. It is unlikely there will be any changes to their side after Friday's result, but the real test of their ability to defend their title begins here.

India thought they had achieved a good result in their opening match, also against the Afghans, until they saw what England did. Their experienced opening attack of Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan were wayward, with the former going at over ten runs per over. It seems unlikely that there will be a change to their batting lineup, but captain MS Dhoni has openly said that there will be changes somewhere, so expect Ashok Dinha to replace either Pathan or Lakshmipathy Balaji, even though the latter was their most economical quick bowler againt Afghanistan.


Match Odds

India are far too short in this market at [1.85]. With their recent form it simply isn't worth considering them at anything less than Evens. England, conversely, are at a slightly generous [2.16], which is pretty much as generous as you are going to get on defending champions in this kind of market.


Top England Batsman

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be holding these two up as exemplars, but the performances of Nabi and of Australia's Shane Watson in comparision to their teammates in their first two games suggest that as a batsmen you either have worked these Sri Lankan pitches out pretty quickly or you are not going to work them out at all. On the England side that means looking at either Luke Wright or Alex Hales, both of whom looked in control on Friday until Hales' very unlucky run-out. Wright is slightly shorter odds at [5.0] but is a more reliable runner between the wickets, plus his unbeaten 99 against Afghanistan makes him one of the form men of this tournament.



Top Indian Batsman

Applying the same principle, you would have to say Virat Kholi looks like the safest bet, but his odds of [4.1] look unattractive. Instead, bear in mind the way Afghanistan scored against England and look to players down the order to do the business against the likes of Wright and Samit Patel. At odds of [9.0] Yuvraj Singh looks particularly enticing here.


Pakistan v New Zealand
Sky Sports 2
11:00hrs BS
T

Pakistan are the last team to make their entry into this competition, six days after it began. Quite how the break will have affected them is anyone's guess, but they had an indifferent warm up, the zenith of which was a stunning win over India, inspired by recalled wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, and the nadir failing to chase down 112 against England. They are not likely to make any changes from those warm up sides, so Imran Farhat and Nazir Jamshed will bat at the top of the order despite looking unimpressive so far.

New Zealand thrashed Bangladesh on the back of a world record 123 from Brendon McCullum. They are likely to be unchanged for this game, but will almost certainly have to work a lot harder for victory here. They can't afford to think that McCullum alone can beat a side as good as Pakistan.


Match Odds

Pakistan are firm favourites at [1.69], but New Zealand look very good value at [2.42]. Although they have struggled against spin recently, the pitch in Pallekelle wasn't turning on Friday and that will help negate the effect of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal.


Top Pakistan Batsman

This is always a tricky market, as the team are so unpredictable. Somedays, as against India, someone will stand and fight if there is a problem. On others, like against England, the whole house of cards comes down rapidly. Kamran looks good value at [6.0], though - at least he has form in that first situation.


Top New Zealand Batsman

Don't expect McCullum to reprise his performance againt Bangladesh. Whilst he might make runs, no-one has ever made back to back hundreds in T20 internationals. This means that his colleagues will have to go for runs themselves, rather than just giving him the strike as they did on Friday. We are big fans of the duo-toed wonder, Martin Guptill, and whilst his odds of [5.3] are not over-generous, they are still better than most of his team-mates and he's been prolific in all forms of the game this year.


Recommended Bet

Yuvraj Singh to be India's top scorer at odds of [9.0]


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