Ed Hawkins urges caution on the top-bat markets and finds a small edge on top Aussie bowler for the Cape Town action on Wednesday
"Only one is close to being called value, and even then it’s by the slenderest of margins. Richardson gives us one percentage point at 7/2 with Sportsbook"
South Africa v Australia
Wednesday 26 February, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports
De Kock and Ngidi starring
To look at the top bat and bowler winner records in the last two years for South Africa you could be forgiven for thinking that they are a two-man team.
Quinton de Kock and Lungi Ngidi are utterly dominant. De Kock, blazing away in the opening berth, has five wins in 12 and Ngidi, dangerous at the death, four wins in nine.
As tempting as it is to get with the pair again for success at Newlands, it's not advised. We're following the money so to speak. Most importantly the study sample remains too skinny. Under our rules we would like at least 15 matches to go on. The importance of patience and respecting study samples was discussed in this week's Cricket...Only Bettor (below) in the context of how professional analysts require a minimum 20-game study to start making up their minds about teams and players.
It has to be said we were skewered by Sportsbook last time out on both our top-bat fancies. We wanted to break our own rules and be on De Kock and David Warner but couldn't stomach the bet because the firm had shortened both despite failures in game one. Sod's law that both men copped.
De Kock goes off at 15/8 and Ngidi is 11/4 jolly. As for Warner, with four wins in 12 (another short study period), he gets a 5/2 quote.
Just because we're keen on De Kock doesn't mean we should take any price. On an expected decent batting wicket and with rich form running through his veins, we can see the 2/1 proving tempting that he score a fifty. Don't fall for it. It's a stinker of a price. De Kock has six fifties in 40 innings as opener.
CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde and Ed Hawkins discuss when to keep faith with a betting view...and when to bin it
SA last two years top bowler wins/matches
Phehlukwayo 3 2t/18
Rabada 1 t/7
Steyn 0 t/5
Ngidi 4 2t/9
Dala 3 t/9
Hendricks 1 t/6
SA last two years top bat wins/matches
De Kock 5/12
Du Plessis 3/7
R Hendricks 2/14
Van Der Dussen 1/14
Australia last two years top bat wins/matches
Warner 4/12 - has career win rate of 40
M Marsh t/4
Smith 5/38 (career)
We've shied away from discussing top Australia bowler so far in this series. Take a gander at the data below and you'll see why. It's almost impossible to call.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, with not an outright win between them, have played fewer than half of matches in the last three years. We had to extend our database by a year to try to get a better feel. They are guaranteed to start in this year's World Twenty20, leaving us with morsels to pick over. AJ Tye, their best bowler in terms of the top bowler market, is on his way back from injury but looks unlikely to force his way into the XI again.
What is noticeable are the disappointing returns for the likes of Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, the spin duo. It reinforces the belief they are used as containers rather than wicket-takers. Does this make it a three-horse race, then, between Starc, Cummins and Kane Richardson? Possibly.
But only one is close to being called value, and even then it's by the slenderest of margins. Richardson gives us one percentage point at 7/2 with Sportsbook. Stars is 5/2 and Cummins 3/1. On career form, the pair both have 23% win rates. If you absolutely must have a wager, Richardson is the only call.
Australia top bowler wins/matches last three years
Tye 4 4t/21
Stanlake 1 3t/18
K Richardson 3 3t/14
Agar 3 t/21
Coulter-Nile 2 3t/11
Behrendorff 1 t/7
Maxwell 2 t/25
Zampa 1 3t/19
2020 - points p-l: -10.4 (25.5 points staked)
2019 - points p-l: +30.25 (133 points staked)
2018 - points p-l: +9.86 (89 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)