Women's Cricket World Cup Semi-Finals Betting: Pre-tournament favourites to crash out
Both semi-finals take place on Thursday and Jamie Pacheco makes a strong case for a Windies win against the odds and a big knock from India's class act.
"Essentially, you’ve got three world-class all-rounders who bat high up. You’d think that each of them will either perform with bat or ball (or both) and that if two of the three players come off, they’ll be just fine. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off backing the Windies at 6.0 to go all the way but the 2.75 that they win this match has to be taken."
Windies the obvious bet at the prices
Normally when previewing a cricket match, I'll discuss the match winner market and at least two or three others in search of some value prices that are worth highlighting. But in this case, I'm not sure that's totally necessary when there's a stand-out price staring straight at us on the match winner market.
Australia are 4/9 with the Windies out at 7/4 and that gulf in prices simply doesn't make any sense.
The Windies are the defending World T20 champions, having won the title in 2016 by winning the final against...Australia. Pretty easily as well.
And Stafanie Taylor's side are of course on home soil. This isn't a factor to be under-estimated. Not only because they know their own conditions better and are more suited to slower wickets that take turn than Australia are, but also because of the home support. The islands have really taken to this Women's T20 side with their big smiles, joie de vivre and appetite for entertainment and it was obvious during the Group games the lift the crowd can give them.
Admittedly, they seem more up for geeing up the side when they're on top rather than when they're under the cosh but what it does suggest is that during passages of play when the Windies are in the ascendency, they can certainly look forward to plenty of support to help them twist the knife.
Windies Top 3 can handle the pressure
Aside from this, it's worth remembering that it's the hosts who are unbeaten so far. Australia lost to India convincingly on Saturday after conceding 167. And this with India missing arguably their key batsman in Mithali Raj. Not only were Australia highly unlikely to chase that score anyway but a glance at the scorecard reveals an area of concern.
Alyssa Healy (niece of the famous wicket-keeper Ian Healy) was player of the match in their first three games after scores of 48, 56 and 53. All well and good but when she wasn't able to bat against India after suffering concussion, the other batters weren't able to fill the void. That's what can happen when one player gets too many runs and the rest don't spend enough time at the crease under pressure. Healy will certainly have recovered in time for this match and whereas it's highly unlikely that she should be unable to bat again for whatever reason, it's not that unlikely that she could get out cheaply this time. How will the untested middle-order fare if that happens?
But let's talk about the Windies. If you were to question one aspect of their make-up, it's that they're a little over-reliant on the top three of Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews and Taylor herself. That's because they're also generally tasked with bowling their full quota of overs as well. But so what? Essentially, you've got three world-class all-rounders who bat high up. You'd think that each of them will either perform with bat or ball (or both) and that if two of the three players come off, they'll be just fine.
I certainly wouldn't put anyone off backing the Windies at 5/1 to go all the way but the 7/4 that they win this match has to be taken.
India look better equipped than England
England v India
Thursday November 22, 19:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
The match odds look far more in line with 'reality' in this game with India marginal favourites at 4/5 and England out at evens. These prices have clearly been influenced by what happened over the weekend, with India beating Australia comfortably and England losing to the Windies. It's worth remembering that going into the tournament, England were a considerably shorter price for outright glory than India were.
But even aside from the contrasting performances in their last group matches, India have been considerably more impressive. Not only have England been quite underwhelming as a team but few players have really shone as individuals.
They did admittedly play one match less than everyone else (their first game against Sri Lanka was washed out) but the fact that no English batter features in the Top 30 for most runs in the tournament, tells its own story. How they miss Sarah Taylor -absent for personal reasons - at the top of the order, and with the gloves as well.
At least Anya Shrubsole has continued to impress with seven wickets from three games (including a hat-trick), going at a remarkable economy rate of just 3.18. They'll need plenty more from her. She's 10/3 to be top wicket-taker in his game and that looks like a pretty decent price. She's also 22/1 to be England top batsman, an achievement she almost managed last time out. Coming in at no8, she hit 29 off 26 and was just pipped by Sophia Dunkley who scored 35 off 30. It's not unthinkable that if India bat first and post a big score, England will have no choice but to go for it, lose wickets along the way and that 30 or so from Shrubsole could be enough to win this heat. Dunkley by the way, is 9/1.
Raj could be the difference
India look better equipped to win this match and it may be down to that old head Mithali Raj to be the top performer. She's the seventh highest runscorer in the tournament with 107 runs and if that doesn't sound too impressive, it sounds a lot better when you consider she's just 60 runs off the top scorer, having batted just twice when just about everyone else has played four knocks.
Her gameplan is simple. Open the batting, play each ball on its merits, make sure she hangs around for as long as possible, eye up 50 and let the others bat around her. Getting to that magical 50 mark should see her be top scorer for India (11/4) but it could also see her win the player of the match award, which she's 10/1 to get.