India v Ireland
Tuesday, 01:00 GMT
TV: Live on Sky Sports
From the entering the tournament under a cloud and weak in the market, the defending world champions have stormed into the reckoning with four thumping victories.
A famously strong batting line-up has had it's moments, including tons for Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, but the real stars of the show have been the bowlers. That has rarely been the case for India, but pacemen Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma have gelled, all finding form and complimenting one another.
There's always a danger of fast-starters fading as the tournament progresses, but this attack will better appreciate bowling on surfaces already used and likelier to turn, particularly classy spin duo Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Despite lighting up the tournament, Ireland still have a tough task reaching the quarter-finals. Needing one point from either this or the final match against Pakistan, they'll need to beat one of these top-class test nations, unless they get lucky via a washout or West Indies somehow losing to UAE.
They'll be outsiders for both matches, much less so against Pakistan, but everything we've seen from them in this and past World Cups says they cannot be written off. The Irish batting line-up, led by Ed Joyce, is solid and went about getting 300 plus in exemplary, professional style against Zimbabwe last time. All-rounders Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien bring balance to the side, although their bowlers could suffer today against Kohli, Sharma et al.
First Innings Runs
Since the ODI rules were changed and 300 became the new par, we've seen New Zealand hit 363 and South Africa 339 in five first innings at Hamilton. In another rain-reduced 42 over innings, New Zealand hit 271. The other two scores, 248 and 278, were easily chased down.
Expect a run-fest, therefore, especially as both sides have strong batting line-ups. If India bat first, I'll be looking to back 325 or more at better than evens. If Ireland bat first, the same strategy applies, ideally on the 275 plus band.
It's impossible to pick holes in India's claims as they are in great form and obviously in a different class to Ireland. Nevertheless, it would take a brave man to pile in at prohibitive 1.132/15 odds, especially given that they've already qualified and could theoretically take their foot off the gas.
Instead, there could be mileage in a back-to-lay trade on Ireland at 8.615/2. The plan is to stake two units at 8.615/2, then place an order to lay four units at 4.03/1, thus at least doubling the initial stake if they shorten to the target at any stage of the match. It isn't asking that much.
Top India Batsman
India's top-three are all very short-priced here, with none of Kohli, Sharma or Dhawan bigger than 4.03/1. As a value alternative one of the world's great limited overs batsmen, Suresh Raina, catches the eye at around 10.09/1.
Top Ireland Batsman
The key to a total at Hamilton is preserving wickets for the last 15 overs, where enormous scores are available. I suspect the Irish top-order will play cautiously, and leave it to middle order players to hit sixes. Kevin O'Brien fits that bill perfectly, and was notably promoted to five for the slog last time. He's overpriced at 9.08/1.
Back Ireland 2u (two units) @ 8.615/2
Place in-play order to lay Ireland 4u (four units) @ 4.03/1
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