New Zealand v India
Friday 8 February, 06:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Sodhi near, so far
Ish Sodhi is forever the bridesmaid, never the bride when it comes to top New Zealand bowler honours in the last 12 months. The 7/2 chance with Betfair Sportsbook has zero wins under his belt.
And yet he is the Kiwis' top wicket-taker during that time and he has no fewer than four shared honours. We're not sure whether that makes him a great bet or a just a fair one at the odds.
Perusing the winner of this market over the last 12 months does show one thing: that the New Zealand attack hunts in a pack. There is not one standout bowler, apart from Adam Milne who has two wins (the most). Milne is unavailable.
Trent Boult, who has been rested, has one win and two ties, Mitchell Santner three ties, Colin de Grandhomme one win and one tie and Lockie Ferguson one tie. Tim Southee has one win and that was against India at Wellington on Wednesday.
Ferguson, we suspect, is the bet here because of strike rate. In the last year he has taken a wicket every 11 balls, which is terrific. Sodhi, for example, needs 17.9 balls. Boult, always a useful parameter, is 14.8.
Eden Park has not been particularly unkind to spinners in T20 in terms of wicket-takers but there is no doubt that pacers have had the better time. Kyle Mills is the top-wicket-taker there with 11 in five games followed by Southee with 11 in nine and Milne seven in four. Ferguson took three wickets against Sri Lanka there in January in his only appearance.
In terms of career wins in this market, only Ferguson is a wrong price. He should be skinnier than 3/1 but not by very much because of a short career of only four matches. We can at least be hopeful of cheap wickets at the death. Against India at the Westpac he bowled the 16th and 18th overs.
Southee, of course, looked in terrific touch last time out and while we recognise his skill and mastery of a seaming and swinging ball, it is hard to think he is a wager because of a strike rate of under 20% in this market in his career.
Carry on Kuldeep
Kuldeep Yadav was left out of the Wellington match because the poor lamb needed a rest after exertions in the five-match one-day international series. Not his fault, of course, he was just following team orders.
It is surely a ludicrous situation, though, when a spin bowler is told to put his feet up after such a short amount of games. That decision probably cost India control in a hectic first-innings blitz from the hosts, although how bothered they were about that we don't know as discussed in the match preview here.
Kuldeep gets an 11/4 quote for top bowler and we made a string case for a wager in game one here. The facts remain. Kuldeep is more like an 11/8 chance with a 43% win rate. Value.
Do remember we're not saying that the likes of Yuz Chahal or Bhuv Kumar are worse bowlers. We're just arguing that Kuldeep's price (3/1) is wrong for the amount of times he wins. There's also an edge for Chahal, by about three and a half points. Clearly this is no way near as big as Kuldeep's.
Kumar could well seam it and swing it around corner under lights and there will be takers of the 7/2. It's not a bad wager on that rationale.