Pakistan v England 1st T20 Betting Preview: Hosts underrated to hold sway

Afridi captains Pakistan
Afridi captains Pakistan

Ed Hawkins previews the first of three T20s and expects game one to be closer than the odds suggest in Dubai on Thursday...


"There is no toss bias to assist us in finding a winner. The split in day-nighters is by the odd game in 12 in favour of the side batting first"

Recommended Bet
Back-to-lay Pakistan 2.26/5 to 1.75/7

Pakistan v England
Start time: 15.30
TV: live on Sky Sports


Pakistan

Umar Akmal has been restored to Pakistan's squad after being cleared of "immoral activity' - whatever that means. With 173 runs at a strike rate of 138 in the last 12 months, it's a good decision.

Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez add batting power while Ahmed Shehzad is their Mr Reliable in this format. Mind you, he was in ODI and didn't get a look-in. He is their top runscorer in the last 12 months.

Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and the tricky Sohail Tanvir form a potent pace partnership. The loss of all-rounder Imad Wasim to a hand injury is a blow.


England

Fresh from their surprise victory in the ODI series, England can call on pretty much the same squad.

James Vince, the Hampshire batsman, and Stephen Parry, the Lancashire spinner, are additions but whether they get a game remains to be seen.

Eoin Morgan will lead an exciting line-up which showed why they are one of the fastest emerging forces in limited-overs cricket. Jason Roy and Alex Hales enjoyed a spectacular series while Joe Root provides class in the middle order.

David Willey and Reece Topley, left-armers both, also performed well.


Series odds

England are 1.84/5 favourites to win the three-match T20 series with Pakistan 2.166/5. Pakistan have won one of their last six series against Big Eight nations. England have won three straight.


First-innings runs

The last 10 first-innings scores at Dubai read: 144-135-96-211-145-150-98-168-151-89. That is an average of 139. With such an up-and-down collection of numbers it would be tricky to bet with confidence on this market.


Match odds

Unsurprisingly given they are favourites for the series, England are expected to win game one. They are 1.84/5 with Pakistan 2.26/5.

It is always arguable whether England should be favourites to win any game in Asia against the three major forces but it is tough to say that they have not proven themselves to be the more reliable team since the shorter stuff began.

There is no toss bias to assist us in finding a winner. The split in day-nighters is by the odd game in 12 in favour of the side batting first.

One factor that could be important is England's inexperience compared to Pakistan's. England have played only twice in the last 12 months while the hosts have turned out eight times.

With that in mind it would be fair to expect Pakistan to give England a game. And in T20 where we expect the odds to flip-flop, it is reasonable to reckon they are at least capable of that.


Top Pakistan runscorer

Umar Akmal has scored more runs at the gorund than anyone. But his 245 runs have come in 16 games which give him a less than impressive average of 18. Afridi and Hafeez average 20 and 13 respectively so they're not exactly pulling up trees. Akmal is 5.59/2. Hafeez will probably go off sub 4.57/2 while Afridi should be around 6.05/1.


Top England runscorer

Roy and Hales are 4.57/2 and 4.03/1 respectively. But Root is favourite at 3.55/2. Morgan is 4.57/2. Hales should be favourite considering he is one of the best in the world in this format. He had struggled in ODI before this tour but he has never looked out of sorts in T20.


Recommended Bet

Back-to-lay Pakistan 2.26/5 to 1.75/7


Ed Hawkins P/L

2015: +£346
2014: +315.10
2013: +250.80
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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