England (1/4) will be full of confidence after their opening win over South Africa, which should have removed plenty of pressure off the hosts’ shoulders. Their opponents Pakistan (3/1) will be licking their wounds following their dreadful batting display against West Indies in their first match. Pakistan are routinely, and lazily, referred to as ‘mercurial’; the truth is that this particular Pakistan team just isn’t very good.
Trent Bridge has been a happy hunting ground for England since their Eoin Morgan-inspired revolution, and the groundstaff pride themselves on producing high-scoring wickets for both international and domestic cricket. The news that this game will be played on the very pitch that saw England rack up their record score means a run-fest is even more likely.
However, the 10:30am start has to be in the minds of punters. Early wickets have been the norm in the early games so far in the tournament, and if England win the toss, Pakistan’s top order could still be in for a torrid time in the first 15 overs, even on the batting paradise we all expect.
Having seen Pakistan’s timid effort against the West Indies’ short-pitched barrage, England may choose to unleash Mark Wood to add extra pace alongside Joffra Archer. Chris Woakes has a good record at Trent Bridge, with six wickets in his last two England games there, so should play. The Top England Bowler market looks a minefield, however, with little way of predicting who will take the wickets in advance on a such a flat track.
Pakistan will hope that Mohammed Amir backs up his promising and successful spell against the West Indies at the same venue. But HASAN ALI has been by far the most consistent performer for his team prior to the World Cup starting, and one wicketless innings has seen his quality overlooked. He takes 1.67 wickets per innings on average (against World Cup qualified teams), and that’s significantly better than Amir (1.07) and the other Pakistani bowlers. Of course, there’s a risk in delving into this market at all at Trent Bridge, but Ali is good enough value to merit a small interest nonetheless.
England love batting at Trent Bridge. Strangely, Joe Root has the weakest record there since it became a batting paradise, racking up ‘only’ 39 runs per innings on average, compared to Roy (48), Bairstow (47), Buttler (49) and Morgan (60).
The Three Lions will look to savage the Pakistan bowling, confident in their teammates lower down the order, whether they bat first or second. Pakistan simply don’t have the firepower to compete in a shootout, as the recent ODI series between the two sides showed. There’s little point in guessing which of England’s batsmen will fire the biggest score; instead the value looks to lie in some special bets, below.
Pakistan’s batting is unpredictable, and betting on it has to be avoided after their capitulation at the same venue only days ago.
England have by far the quickest average scoring rate in the first 10 overs, and they don’t slow down after that either. Pakistan, on the other hand, struggle to hit the big shots early on that are necessary in the first powerplay. Whichever way the game goes, including the outcome of the toss, it’s very hard to see England being outscored early on. The odds on the Three Lions scoring more than Pakistan in the first 15 overs are particularly generous, but the chances of England hitting the most 4s and 6s also look to have been underestimated. These are almost dead certs, and the decent odds-on prices available have to be devoured.
Recommended Bet Summary
Hasan Ali – Top Pakistan Bowler – 0.5pts at 7/2 (B365) or 11/4 (generally)
England – Most Runs First 15 Overs – 3pts at 8/15 (Hills and generally)
England – Most Team 4s – 2pts at 4/6 (Betfair/Paddy Power)
England – Most Team 6s – 2pts at 1/2 (General)