Ed Hawkins reckons Bangladesh have the edge in this dead rubber at Lord's on Friday...
"Against Pakistan Bangladesh will not feel that victory would be regarded as a shock. It's the norm"
Bangladesh v Pakistan
Friday 5 July 10.30
TV: Live on Betfair Video & Sky Sports
Bang at it
Bangladesh may have been a bit too Tiger-ish. After gorging on big game - South Africa - in their first outing, their bellies have been full. Sure, they weren't satisfied and although they swatted a paw now and then against the last four, they didn't have the nous to take down another scalp.
Against Pakistan they will not feel that victory would be regarded as a shock. It's the norm. Bangladesh have won the last four and although it could be easy to worry whether they'll be straining every sinew, one only needs to have a basic understanding of the history of the two teams to reckon they'll be 'at it'.
There are no shortage of gun players. Shakib-al-Hasan, the player of the tournament, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin have all enhanced their reputations.
Saifuddin, who has been superb with the ball, boshed an unbeaten 51 against India in a gutsy Bangladesh show on Tuesday. The balance of that XI was eye-catching with Mashrafe Mortaza batting at No 9.
Pakistan can well feel aggrieved they have not made it to the semi-finals. They beat England, who look to be running into form at precisely the right time, and New Zealand, who have pipped them on net run rate. Their washed-out clash against South Africa probably robbed them of maximum points, too.
Given New Zealand's pathetic efforts when they have come up against teams of note, it is not unfair to wish that it was the men in green who were advancing. Sure, they can be chaotic but that's precisely why you would want them there. Who knows what they could have pulled out of the hat?
The recall of Shaheen Afridi is an example. Perhaps if he had been playing from ball one they wouldn't have missed out. Afridi has taken ten wickets in four games.
There have been disappointments. Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman just haven't done enough damage in the opening positions and both will be disappointed with their returns.
Lord's wicket a little tricky
Here are the last 17 first-innings scores at Lord (1/2 denotes game won by side batting first or second): 243-1/285-1/322-1/308-1/153-2/328-1/251-1/309-1/300-1/227-2/220-2/272-2/280-1/246-2/265-1/277-1/235-2. As you can see there is a trend - the side batting first is going to have to at least post 280. Australia razed New Zealand with a lowly 243 but it is pretty much par for the course that the New Zealanders panic when they're about to beat their old rivals. The 285 by Australia against England was more instructive. At the break it looked a little light but the wicket does not play true and can hold up.
Disrespectful price about Tigers
After Pakistan beat New Zealand an old friend on Twitter asked: how do you predict what Pakistan will do?
It's pretty easy: never bet them when they are odds on. So we will be giving them a wide berth at no better than [1.57]. The [2.66] about Bangladesh is disrespectful given their head-to-head advantage.
That wobble against Afghanistan by Pakistan hints at complacency when Pakistan reckon things are going to be easy. Fingers crossed that they're either smarting about the exit, checking flight times or believing they're superior.
Imam worth another follow
Shakib is, unsurprisingly, the hot favourite at 5/2 with Sportsbook for top Bangladesh honours. On two-year data he should not be as short but it is hard to take him on. We have a soft spot for Mushfiqur at 4s. For Pakistan, Imam-ul-Haq's price is down and up. Against Afghanistan he was rated as 11/4 jolly. After that failure he's now out top 9/2 having been consistent at 7/2. He has a 35% win rate on the market on two-year form. For top Pakistan bowler, Afridi gave us a nice winner in that game. With a 31% win rate if you can get 5/2 or better it's a bet.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back Bangladesh at [2.66] (1pt)
Back Imam-ul-Haq top Pakistan bat 9/2 Sportsbook (0.5pts)