Ed Hawkins analyses the top runscorer markets for Malahide on Wednesday and uncovers two value bets...
"Rohit could be our man. And on hit rate he should be favourite ahead of Dhawan"
Wilson a smarter wager
Paul Stirling is the man who Ireland may rely on. He has excellent county experience with Middlesex and is revered as one of the most ferocious hitters among the smaller nations.
Indeed, Eoin Morgan, the England skipper, said Stirling deserved more exposure after the beefy hitter inspired Morgan's Kerala team to glory in a Honk Kong 10-over league last year. We're not sure about the standard of that league but when you look at Stirling's numbers it is hard to disagree.
He strikes at a brutal 137 in T20 internationals and has a very healthy average of 28. From 48 matches he has stood the test of time. No other Irishman can, seemingly, match him.
And when one batsman of a less heralded nation seems to be scoring the bulk of the runs it is hard not to seek out his prices for a wager when he comes up against one of the established teams.
Stirling, as you would expect, is 7/2 jolly for top Ireland runscorer with Betfair Sportsbook and 5/6 to score over 22.5 runs.
By our spreadsheets we have Stirling as a 2/1 shot so you would have thought there could be no argument about betting him. Apart from there is.
The problem we have with Stirling is that he scores the bulk of his runs against peer teams. When he comes up against the Big Boys he has a surprisingly poor record. He averages 9.2. And he has only once busted that runs quote of 22.5.
It is therefore almost impossible to reckon he is worthy of a wager. If not Stirling, then who? Gary Wilson.
Wilson, the Ireland skipper, does have a decent record against the super powers. He has the most runs and has the best average at 24.8. More importantly he is in decent nick, having blitzed a half-century in a warm-up against Sussex. Even more importantly he is a 9/2 shot when he should be about 3/1.
Rohit might trump Kohli
Virat Kohli will be all the rage for top-bat honours for India. He is their Paul Stirling, if you will. We doubt he's ever been described like that before.
Kohli is, of course, the best batsman in the world. Whatever the format, he's your man. And now AB De Villiers has retired and Joe Root's limited-obers star is on the wane, there is no other batsman who can get close to his dominance across the three formats.
Like Stirling, the expectation is that Kohli will dominate. Although for different reasons. It is reasonable to expect Kohli to find the Irish bowling much easier to deal with that the international fare he is used to at the top table.
But what it will always come down to is odds. Is Kohli the right price or the wrong price? It is rather surprising to see him, at 7/2 with Sportsbook. But that's because Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are expected to open. They are favourites at 13/5 and 3/1 and have the chance to bat for longest and garner 'easy' runs in the powerplay.
Ordinarily Kohli would be around the 13/5 mark. And that would be a bet. Like Stirling and the Irish issue, though, who scores India's runs against the minnows?
Of the three, it's Rohit. He averages (not including not outs) against teams outside of the tent with a mark of 35. Kohli and Dhawan are at 25. Rohit then, could be our man. And on hit rate he should be favourite ahead of Dhawan.
A word also for KL Rahul, who is a fantastic hitter. He really should get the chance to open in place of probably Dhawan. He's so good that all the number crunching we've done could be rendered irrelevant. He is also 7/2.
2018 - points p-l: -9.01 (41 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)