Recently South Africa leapfrogged Pakistan in the Twenty20 International rankings and one should bet on the Proteas staying above the Pakistanis by winning the First Twenty20 International at Johannesburg’s Bidvest Wanderers Stadium.
Ladbrokes is offering odds of 1.57 that South Africa makes it six consecutive limited-overs victories over Pakistan after winning the last three One Day International games and two Twenty20 International matches between the sides in the United Arab Emirates over the past couple of weeks.
Pakistan had a good chance to become the top-ranked Twenty20 International team but it blew it in a spectacular way that has become the trademark of the Pakistanis. South Africa did not have to play to their full potential to win each of its last five tour matches, with its victories including one by nine wickets and another by 117 runs. Such massive margins are out of the ordinary in One Day and Twenty20 games.
South Africa has named the same Twenty20 International squad that defeated Pakistan 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates for the two matches in the republic. Pakistan has made several forced and unforced changes to its roster, with the major news concerning Mohammad Irfan, who has been ruled out of action after sustaining a hip injury in his side’s six-run defeat against South Africa in Dubai. The loss of Irfan is a significant blow to Pakistan because he was the biggest positive out of its tour of South Africa earlier this year when he took 25 wickets in seven games across all formats.
It should pay not to get too fancy with betting on the First Twenty20 International between South Africa and Pakistan. It is impossible to construct a case for backing Pakistan, with the exception of arguing that Twenty20 matches are a bit of fun and, therefore, the result may not go the way of the form book. That is a weak argument, particularly as South Africa will not want to lose in front of its own fans and the Proteas have won each of their last two Twenty20 International games at the famous Johannesburg venue.
Twenty20 matches are all about batting and, currently, one could not back Pakistan to compile a decent score versus any of the top-tier nations, let alone South Africa. Pakistan scored only 98 runs in its First Twenty20 International game against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates and the Pakistanis bottled it when they had a target of 151 runs to chase in the second and final match of the series. Also, Pakistan batted appalling in all five of its One Day International games versus South Africa in the United Arab Emirates, not scoring more than 238 runs in a single innings and averaging an embarrassing 194.2 runs in the series.
If one would like to strike a First Twenty20 International exotic bet then the pick of the bunch is to dutch South Africa’s openers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, in betting on the top batsman for the Proteas. With Irfan absent and Pakistan’s spin bowlers unlikely to pose an enormous threat away from the dusty pitches on which they spend most of their time, one of South Africa’s openers could compile a score that their teammates down the order simply do not have the time to overtake. Amla is trading at odds of 4.00 BetVictor, while De Kock is available at odds of 4.50 with Ladbrokes and Sky Bet. Dutch odds of 4.00 and 4.50 and one gets odds of more than 2.10 about either Amla or De Kock being South Africa’s highest run scorer.
Backing South Africa to win its First Twenty20 International match against Pakistan at odds of 1.57 is perfectly sound but, if one must bet at odds against, dutching Amla and De Kock in Proteas top batsman betting is the way to play.