Ed Hawkins unearths two cracking wagers on the tops markets for Newlands on Tuesday...
"In the last two years Ngidi has a strike rate (wickets per ball) of 25. In the top 35 wicket-takers over the same study period only Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi (23.1) has proved more lethal"
Leading the way
Quinton de Kock has replaced Faf Du Plessis as South Africa captain. It was a move made with the sort of subtlety one would hope South Africa can replicate in their batting: sledgehammer.
Although Du Plessis should feel aggrieved at the way it was handled, a bold, more ruthless approach from the Saffers is required in this format. They have a wealth of brilliant, attack-minded batsmen who could make a play at rivalling England's extraordinary rise from World Cup no-hopers to the most feared team on the planet.
They just need to change the mindset. De Kock is key to that. If he allows captaincy to way heavily on his shoulder s and his strokemaking becomes unsure or stiff, South Africa can expect four more years of middling performance and another World Cup failure.
But if he embraces chaos and destruction and a 'who cares about consequences' attitude, just as Eoin Morgan urged his team to do in that extraordinary first series against New Zealand after disaster in 2015, they could be a lot of fun.
We hope De Kock is at his most confident for game one so we can continue betting him for top bat honours. He shares top spot with Rohit Sharma in terms of best win rates in the world on the market. Sportsbook go 12/5 when we would price him at 7/4.
Over the data period De Kock has had more settled team-mates to beat. Not this time. He has to lead the way. And should.
Best percentage wins on ODI top bat markets
De Kock 37%
Ngidi a class act
One of the chief reasons South Africa's World Cup campaign faltered was an injury to Lungi Ngidi. Ngidi popped a hamstring during the clash against Bangladesh, a match they lost which also meant the team's chances went 'pop'.
Ngidi is a gun bowler with new and old ball. The opportunity to pair him and Kagsio Rabada throughout the tournament had excited South Africa before a ball was bowled. When they were unable to do so, it knocked the stuffing out of them.
The rangy pacer remains an undiscovered, unheralded talent. At least as the betting markets are concerned. He goes off at 3/1 joint favourite with spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. Under logic as basic as: it will bend more than it spins under lights at CT; Ngidi is a value wager.
But how about the fact that he has the best win rate of any bowler on two-year data in this market? His 27% strike rate should make him a clear jolly at around the 11/4 mark.
In the last two years Ngidi has a bowling strike rate of 25. In the top 35 wicket-takers over the same study period only Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi (23.1) has proved more lethal. Shamsi? He has played 12 games, averaged a wicket per game at a strike rate of 51.
Best percentage wins on ODI top bowler markets
Top England bat wins/matches
Bairstow 10 1t/49
Root 9 1t/58
Top England bat wins/matches
Rashid 5 10t/56
Woakes 6 6t/37
Ali 3 5t/49
T Curran 3 1t/16