New Zealand v West Indies: Don't write off the Windies yet
Two sides stacked with one-day specialists battle for the last semi-final place on Saturday morning. Paul Krishnamurty says that, while the outsiders face a stiff task, the odds about West Indies are simply too big to ignore...
"This is probably the most one-sided betting between these two sides ever and, in a knockout scenario, the favourites represent a terribly risky bet."
New Zealand v West Indies
Saturday, 01:00 GMT
TV: Live on Sky Sports
By happy coincidence, New Zealand have managed to time their hosting of a World Cup with the emergence of what is easily their best ever side. As a result, a nation usually considered as dangerous, but limited outsiders are arguably the team to beat.
Of course Australia are much shorter in the betting, but the Black Caps won a classic group match between the pair, along with all other five matches to date.
There's no obvious weakness to be found. They bat very deep, with extraordinary boundary hitters at the top, in Brendon McCullum; Corey Anderson and Lou Ronchi at the death. The bowlers have also been outstanding, with different men going at less than 5.0 per over, including a miserly 3.21 from Dan Vettori.
After a disastrous opening defeat to Ireland, West Indies will be mightily relieved to still be in the competition and are far from out of it. The 2012 T20 World Champions are erratic, but they are set up perfectly for limited overs cricket.
Versatility is their strength. For example, their best batting average in the tournament is held by captain and main strike bowler Jason Holder. Their best bowling economy rate by opener Dwayne Smith. In addition, Darren Sammy is one the world's great all-rounders in limited overs cricket.
They start big outsiders today against a flying side with home advantage, but any side including that lot and Chris Gayle can never be written off.
Since England were skittled out for 123, the two first innings scores at Wellington were 309 and 341. The first of those was chased down with ease, so something in that order will probably be required to win.
That points to a bet on 'overs', although as Tim Southee showed against England, pace bowlers can produce devastating spells. So while New Zealand can probably be relied upon to hit 300, Windies certainly cannot, especially against such an economical line-up. If they bat first, it's well worth laying 225 or more at short odds-on, estimated around [1.25].
After eight straight victories, usually in overwhelming fashion, it is hard to argue with New Zealand's short [1.32] odds. However, this is probably the most one-sided betting between these two sides ever and, in a knockout scenario, the favourites represent a terribly risky bet.
Any side with Gayle, Sammy et al can beat any other side in this format. They are at least well capable of making it close, so let's try a back-to-lay trade at [4.1], laying back for double the stake if they hit [2.0] at any stage. Effectively an even money bet.
Both of these sides have such batting depth that there's never much incentive to take short prices about the top order. For the Black Caps, wicket-keeper Lou Ronchi catches the eye at around [15.0]. This about a number seven who hit 170 not out only last month.
Similarly, there are some enormous prices about capable Windies lower order batsmen. Jason Holder, boasting the side's best average during this tournament, is a [36.0] chance! That's simply too big, as is [21.0] about Darren Sammy. Let's try a combined bet, paying around [12.0].
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World Cup Profit/Loss:
+11 units (39% ROI)
Australian Wallet Transfer
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