Shoriful and Farooqi 100/1 fancies
The formula for finding the top tournament runscorer is clear and reliable: five of the last six winners have been opening batsmen. It would be bonkers to look elsewhere for value.
In 2019 Rohit Sharma pipped David Warner by a single run to take honours. With both India and Australia making the semi-finals that year, at least the extra game could make all the difference again. Indeed, five of the last six winners have made it to the final.
If we were to filter, then, our selections for teams most likely to make the last four according to the betting, the winner could well come from India, England, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa or New Zealand.
Further filtering in the form of averages in the last four years in Asia, two years overall and a minimum requirement of ten innings further separates the wheat from the chaff - why would we want to wager without some cold, hard facts to consider in these conditions?
The latter immediately strikes a line through England's opening pair, Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan. It's untried, untested and is a point to remember with regard to outright betting.
Last 4 years average in Asia/2 year average:
A rich vein of form is, of course, a must. Of those last six winners, no batter has won with a lower average than 61. That can rule out Devon Conway and Will Young from New Zealand, Fakhar from Pakistan and home star Rohit whose decline in the last four years has been noticeable.
The man to beat, then, is Shubman Gill. Gill was advised at 11/43.75 for top India bat, a price that has collapsed. If you missed it there is absolutely nothing wrong with the 15/28.50 that Sportsbook offer. He should be favourite instead of Virat Kohli at 7/18.00.
Of the chunkier prices, we could be left with Imam-ul-Haq and Temba Bavuma. Imam is 25/126.00 with a quarter the odds the first four. Bavuma gets a quote of 33/1. Given the bias for openers one may prefer to bet Imam just to win the Pakistan market at 4/15.00 and Bavuma likewise for top SA at 16/54.20. We'll keep stakes sensible on Bavuma because he's missed the warm-ups for personal reasons.
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There is also a significant trend that cannot be ignored for top bowler. Five of the last six top wicket-takers have been won by left-arm pace bowlers.
After his success in 2019, Mitchell Starc is aiming for a hat-trick of wins. He should probably be favourite at 11/112.00 instead of spinner Kuldeep Yadav at 9/110.00 on that basis.
We get the preference for spinners but this isn't high Indian summer and pitches should be varied enough to ensure tweak doesn't dominate. In the 2011 World Cup in India, left-armer Zaheer Khan and leggie Shahid Afridi shared top spot.
Left-arm pace bowlers strike rate last two years:
The standout pick has to be New Zealand's Trent Boult, then, at 16/117.00. Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi will prove popular at 9/110.00.
Afghanistan's Faz Farooqi is strong each-way value at a massive 100/1101.00. Likewise Bangladesh's Shoriful Islam at the same price.
It may also be more tempting (just like Imam and Bavuma above) to bet each of these two for top team honours. Farooqi should be favourite for Afghanistan (he has the best win rate in individual games) instead of third at 11/26.50. Shoriful is 5/16.00 for Bangladesh.