New Zealand v India
Sunday 3 February, 02:00
Live on Sky Sports
A better strike rate than Boult
They say patience is a virtue. So when Matt Henry broke into the New Zealand XI for game four in Hamilton we thought we were about to be rewarded with a top bowler winner.
This column has been waiting about a year for the opportunity to bet on Henry, for the simple reason that he was absolutely outstanding value. He rated as a 13/8 chance and was going off at 4s. Do you need any other reason?
Unfortunately, Henry was not a winner. He failed to take a wicket and held one end tight while the human wrecking ball that is Trent Boult set about destroying India's challenge. Boult took five wickets.
Betfair Sportsbook go 4/1 again that Henry tops. And having bided our time it would be odd to abandon him now, particularly as this is the venue where he made his name.
Four years ago Henry was picked for his ODI debut in the fifth ODI against India. India did not know what hit them. Henry took four wickets for 38. Three of them - Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu and Bhuv Kumar - should line up against him tomorrow.
Given his record, it is slightly strange that Henry is not one of the first names on the team sheet. He averages 1.8 wicket per match over his 40-game career with a strike rate of 28. That's a better hit rate than Boult, by the way, at 29, although he averages 1.9 wickets per match.
Indeed, Henry's wicket-taking ability comfortably has him in the top ten (number eight) of international pace bowlers who have taken 50 or more for best strike rates since his debut. He's more dangerous than big names like Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
In short, then, he deserves more respect. And while we're not surprised he's not the jolly, he should at least be next best behind Boult, who is 11/4. Tim Southee, who probably won't play, is 3s. As a contrast, Southee has a strike rate of 41 over the study period and averages 1.2 wickets per game.
Keep faith with Kuldeep and Rohit
There is confusion about whether Mohammad Shami will play for India in the finale. He missed the last game and has disappeared from the squad lists. Perhaps India have decided to rest him without telling anyone.
Whether he plays or not makes no difference to our wager for top India bowler. We will be backing Kuldeep Yadav at 11/4, who shares favourite status with Shami.
By our numbers Kuldeep is a 36% chance of copping on the last two years with nine wins from 25. Sportsbook rate him a 26% chance so we're more than happy to snaffle the 11/4. Shami managed to cope for the first time over the study period at Bay Oval in the third ODI so we're not worried if he does in fact play.
The wicket could well suit spinners more. In the last ODI played at the ground last year, England's Moeen Ali claimed the man of the match award with four wickets. Adil Rashid and Ish Sodhi also got in on the act.
With the Kiwis struggling against spin, and Kuldeep in particular (he has eight), we think it's worth following him again. We were on him for the win in the second match of the series.
We also retain faith in Rohit Sharma to top score at 5/2. Statistically, we still be betting him at 3s so with Virat Kohli missing and his form good we'd be disappointed if he didn't get as some runs.