The ICC World Twenty20 gets serious from Tuesday 15 March and the format of cricket’s short form makes it perfect for opposing favourites and taking a punt on a live outsider.
India is the home of Twenty20 cricket thanks to the Indian Premier League so it was only natural that bookmakers would install the Indians as the ICC World Twenty20 favourites, with many firms quoting them at odds of lower than +200 .
History is against India on a couple of significant counts. First, no ICC World Twenty20 host nation has lifted aloft the trophy – indeed, only one home team has made the final and that was Sri Lanka in 2012. Second, no pre-tournament ICC World Twenty20 favourite has celebrated victory. There may have been just five previous editions of the ICC World Twenty20 and the tide may turn in the future but one does not like the idea of stepping into this year’s ICC World Twenty20 favourite at odds of around the +200 mark.
The case for opposing India in the ICC World Twenty20 is simple – it would have to possess no obvious weaknesses to represent value at its pre-tournament odds and that is not the case. For example, India lost to a below-strength Sri Lanka in the lead up to the ICC World Twenty20 and then there is the phenomenal level of pressure that comes with playing for the most cricket-mad country on the planet.
Australia, South Africa and England are the next three sides in the ICC World Twenty20 title market. Australia’s bowling attack, which does not feature a world-class spinner for a competition on wickets that are bound to turn, gives up too many runs for one’s liking and the Aussies do not have the greatest of records chasing above-average scores. South Africa are better balance than Australia but do the Proteas have the mental strength to go all way? South Africa has a reputation for bottling it on the big stage – it has not won either the ICC World Cup or the ICC World Twenty20, punching well below its weight on numerous occasions. England is very similar to Australia insomuch that its bowling is not up to the necessary standard. Also, according to the ICC Twenty20 International rankings, England is sixth on a rating of 122.
One could make a case for the West Indies at general odds of +1200 to win the ICC World Twenty20 because the men from the Caribbean are second only to India in the aforementioned ICC Twenty20 International rankings. But the West Indies is not a united team due to its latest round of money squabbles and, therefore, one is going to nominate another roughie.
New Zealand is the ICC World Twenty20 value play at odds of +1100 with Paddy Power. New Zealand is joint third alongside South Africa in the ICC Twenty20 International rankings and, based on recent win-loss ratios, the Black Caps are second only to India. New Zealand has a genuinely well balanced side and the Black Caps may have found the answer to their post-Daniel Vettori spin difficulties with the emergence of Mitchell Santner. One cannot understand why bookmakers are quoting New Zealand at considerably longer odds than India, Australia, South Africa and England in ICC World Twenty20 betting because there is a strong argument for the Black Caps being around the same price as the latter three teams.
Earlier this month New Zealand buried one of its greatest cricketers, Martin Crowe, and one is sure that the Black Caps will be playing in the ICC World Twenty20 to honour their former captain. There would be no finer way for New Zealand to mark Crowe’s early passing following a long battle with cancer than with ICC World Twenty20 success.
New Zealand to win the World Twenty20
8th March – 3rd April 2016
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