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Michael Vaughan: Batsmen could lead England to surprise victory in first ODI

Can KP lead England to success in the first ODI?

"I'd wait until the toss before getting involved, but if England are batting second then that 2.47/5 is definitely worth a cheeky bet.
They've shown that they're capable of chasing on a number of occasions and it's often easier batting second in these day/night games."

With only one win in the last 18 one-day internationals on Indian soil, England are rightly underdogs for the latest series, which begins on Friday. But Michael Vaughan believes Alastair Cook's men have enough batting firepower to cause a surprise in the first match in Rajkot.

England come off the back of two defeats in the warm-up matches which is a reminder, if we needed it, what a difficult part of the world India is to play in.

But India are as vulnerable as they have been for a while in the one-day format, with the defeat against rivals Pakistan meaning they are under real pressure for the first time in MS Dhoni's reign (in ODIs).

With England missing a host of senior bowlers who performed so well in the Test series, India are rightly strong favourites for the five-match series - trading at 1.68/13 right now - but I think there could be some value in getting behind the tourists to win the first match, at a decent looking 2.47/5.

While the bowling attack looks inexperienced without Swann, Anderson and Panesar, England have a strong batting line-up and that could be enough to see them through, especially if they are chasing a total.

Even in the absence of Jonathan Trott, there are plenty of runs in the England team, with an excellent top three of Cook, Pietersen and Bell and the likes of Morgan and Kieswetter down the order.

For England to win one of that top three will need to get a ton - 60 or 70 isn't enough in India - and they'll want Morgan to come in with no more than 20 or 25 overs to go.

I'd wait until the toss before getting involved, but if England are batting second then that 2.47/5 is definitely worth a cheeky bet.

They've shown that they're capable of chasing on a number of occasions and it's often easier batting second in these day/night games as the ball comes on to the bat nicely and the dew factor is taken out of the equation.

If you're getting involved in the Top Batsman markets, I'd always stick with the top three in ODIs as they've got the best chance of time at the crease.

With that in mind, my pick for England would be Pietersen, at 4.57/2, as he loves playing in India and is always capable of getting a big score. 

For India, I'll play safe and opt for Gambhir, at a decent looking 5.04/1. He's got the consistency that the likes of Kohli and Yuvraj are struggling to find.

***

The big talking point in cricket this week was Shane Warne's little dust-up with Marlon Samuel in the Big Bash. Did I see right that he was banned for swearing?! They should have heard him go in Test matches! He would have never played a game. 

I don't think it was anything to get too exercised about. Warney has always played with an edge - we all remember him targeting Paul Collingwood - and this was just another example of that. 


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09 January 2013

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