For the first time since June 20 in 1999, an ODI World Cup game will be played in English soil.
Back then it was more about hope than expectation.
This time England have the pressure of not only being the hosts, but also as the tournament favourites, and yes…. the country expects!
The first team to have a crack at England are South Africa, who come with the “bottler” tag as they have constantly flattered to deceive in big tournaments.
This is probably the first World Cup since 1999 where expectations are low for them, and a semi-final may be looked upon as a success. A huge dependence will come on the shoulders of Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada to take wickets, while Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis to get them runs.
They might not find this easy against probably the best ODI side that’s ever been produced in England. In Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, England possess the most explosive openers in Cricket. They average an insane 7.2 runs per over when batting together.
So, where is the value from a betting point of view?
It’s very hard to look past Jonny Bairstow to be the Top England Runscorer. He’s a scoring machine!
Bairstow averaged over 70 in the recent series against Pakistan, after arriving home from the IPL where he scored an average of 44.5 runs per game. That’s an incredible scoring rate in T20 cricket.
He’s 3/1 to top score, and you’ll almost certainly get a run for your money for that.
For South Africa, Kagiso Rabada should be your choice for Top South African Wicket Taker (5/2). Not only is he one of the fastest bowlers in cricket – regularly bowling at speeds in excess of 90mph – but he takes wickets at a spectacular rate.
He took a fantastic 25 wickets in 12 games in this year’s IPL. To take a hat-trick at any level in cricket is an achievement, to do so in your ODI debut for your country is off the scale.
That is how good Rabada is. The only worry is the fact he left the IPL due to an injury precaution and we’re hoping South Africa have wrapped him in cotton wool. If he’s fit, he’s one of the world’s best.
* All odds correct at time of posting.