Australia v Scotland
Saturday, March 14 03:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports World Cup
As pre-tournament favourites, Australia would have been expected to breeze through the Group stages and take maximum points from their six games but it hasn't been the most convincing campaign so far. As the 1992 Pakistanis proved, to win the World Cup you don't have to be the best team in the opening stages and if there is any point to games such as Saturday's it gives a chance for struggling players to hit top form.
David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and even the infirm Michael Clarke have used these latter group matches to re-calibrate and it puts the Aussies in a strong position when the tournament starts in earnest next week. Right now, the Scotland tie is just another opportunity to gain some extra practise.
Like all associate nations, Scotland have had their moments at this World Cup and certain individual performances have stood out. Kyle Coetzer's 156 against Bangladesh was a brilliant effort while Josh Davey's 14 wickets in the competition will have been the envy of struggling bowlers south of Hadrian's Wall.
The associates deserve to play some part in future World Cups but at this stage of the tournament it's hard not to be cynical after a surfeit of one sided matches such as this one. Davey can test the world's best batsman while Coetzer and Matt Machan won't surrender their wickets. The Scots even ran the Kiwis close but the best they can hope for here is a narrow loss.
Venue and Conditions
Hobart's Bellerive Oval is traditionally a high scoring ground and earlier in the week, the Scots conceded 363 against Sri Lanka. In the other game to be played here, Ireland reached 331 batting first and now that 400 has become the new 350, Australia can realistically target a huge score, if they take first knock.
However, rain has started to punctuate the latter stages of the groups and showers are predicted so it's likely that the side winning the toss will insert, and add Messrs Duckworth and Lewis to the team sheet as 12th and 13th men.
If you like your profits to be predictable and tiny, take Australia's win odds of 1.011/100. Unlike say, South Africa, Clarke's men are unlikely to feel any scoreboard pressure so a total above 250 shouldn't prove a problem while a full game batting first should yield a total approaching 400 for the Aussies.
Scotland at 65.064/1 would need to bowl first, nip out the openers early and then wait for rain to strike at just the right time before Duckworth Lewis leads them home. I won't bet my house against it but it seems unlikely.
Top Australia Batsman
Having nailed three of my last four top batsman tips, I'm anxious to get this right even though my thoughts are with a fairly short priced David Warner at 3.185/40. Aaron Finch at 3.02/1 needed England's careless hands to take him to a century but this could be the game where he returns to form.
Batting first, Glenn Maxwell could come in at the 30 over mark and still deliver a profit at 5.04/1 but Steve Smith will bat earlier and is better at that same 5.04/1 price. Warner was my first instinct however and as he looks to make up ground in the tournament top batsman race, the left hander should make Scotland suffer.
Century in Match
It's not really a game for high priced winners but the century bet isn't too bad at 1.855/6. Certain conditions would have to be right before taking it, with clear skies and Australia taking first knock but at a marginal odds on price it's worth a look.
Back David Warner to top score for Australia at 3.185/40.