The First Twenty20 International between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium went pretty much according to the script and there is little reason to think that the second game will be all that much different.
Pakistan justified First Twenty20 International with victory by a narrow margin in a low-scoring affair. Pakistan won the toss, elected to field and limited Sri Lanka to 145 runs for five wickets off the away side’s 20 overs. Pakistan replied with 146 runs for seven wickets, getting home with three wickets and five balls up its sleeve. Shahid Afridi was Pakistan’s batting hero, smashing three sixes in his unbeaten 39 runs off 20 balls at the match’s death.
Unfortunately, Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Matthews was the top run scorer in the First Twenty20 International but fell shy of the 55 runs required to land the suggested best bet of the two-match series opener. But the fact remains that the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium is a low-scoring venue and, given the very close nature of the First Twenty20 International, it makes sense to steer clear of the raw result market. Quite simply, bookmakers are struggling to split Pakistan and Sri Lanka for several good reasons.
So one should stick to the Second Twenty20 International exotics that pertain to run scoring. To recap what one wrote leading into the First Twenty20 International, the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium is no stranger to matches in cricket’s youngest format having staged 28 international games since its first one in May 2009. There have been only nine team scores greater than 150 runs, while only seven matches have had at least one side score greater than 150 runs. At a competitive level of cricket, 150 runs is a par score for a Twenty20 International team so it is clear that the United Arab Emirates venue is not a batting paradise.
Moreover, it is not just Twenty20 International games at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium that are low scoring. One can say the same about One Day International matches at the United Arab Emirates facility, while four of the five Test games there have produced results other than draws, helped in so small way by two first-innings totals of 99 runs.
Stan James was the bookmaker that put up odds of 2.38 about the First Twenty20 International’s top individual score being 55 runs to 70 runs inclusive. Stan James likes to trade that market so, with one expecting it to stick to its guns and offer roughly the same prices again, it is the bet.
In 14 of the 28 Twenty20 International matches at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium the top individual score has been higher than 54 runs and lower than 71 runs. And if only counts the Twenty20 International games at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium between top-tier teams, the incidence increases to eight out of 13. Fourteen out of 28 equates to odds of 2.00 and eight of 13 equates to odds of 1.63. Whichever way one cuts up the numbers, there is a good case for taking odds of around the 2.38 mark with Stan James.
The First One Day International individual half century of Mathews, albeit fortunate – he was almost plumb leg before wicket on 17 runs and he was dropped while going for broke in Sri Lanka’s 18th over – demonstrated the folly of betting against someone getting to 50 runs at the Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium in spite of its low-scoring statistics. Now 11 of the 28 Twenty20 International games at the United Arab Emirates ground have featured at least one individual half century. With Paddy Power offering odds of 2.00 about one and Unibet offering odds of 2.70 about the milestone not occurring, the true odds of 2.55 are in between and, therefore, it is a market to give a miss.