ODI Betting: India to shuffle bowling pack
As has so often been the case, this clash between neighbours will come down to India's batsmen against Pakistan's bowlers.
Andrew Hughes believes the shock defeat of India on Friday could give Pakistan the edge when they meet in today's ODI.
Given that their seamers have largely failed so far, India could go old school and play just the two, although it's more likely that they'll opt to shuffle the pack, bringing in Vinay Kumar at the expense of Ashok Dinda. Yusuf Pathan is another option, but India are already well-stocked with big hitters and M S Dhoni seems to prefer Ravindra Jadeja in the all-rounder's berth.
Pakistan will consider strengthening the batting by bringing in Asad Shafiq, but that would weaken their bowling and young all-rounder Hammad Azam did well enough in Thursday's game to retain his place. Aizaz Cheema took four wickets in that game so should continue to keep Wahab Riaz on the sidelines.
Venue and Conditions
There is a marginal advantage to batting second at the Shere Bangla Stadium, although results have not yet fully reflected this. The surface has looked a little worn and sluggish in the afternoon whilst the evening dew freshens it up and brings the ball onto the bat more quickly, as well as making it harder for the fielding side. Still this is essentially a batting-friendly venue and bowlers erring in line or length will suffer.
As has so often been the case, this clash between neighbours will come down to India's batsmen against Pakistan's bowlers. And on a good batting pitch, Pakistan's superiority with the ball could be crucial. On paper, India's batting is the best in the tournament, but their spinners are ordinary and their seamers are military medium. They badly miss the class of Zaheer Khan or Harbhajan Singh at his peak.
It is hard to see India's bowlers causing a talented if inconsistent Pakistan batting line-up too many problems. By contrast, Aizaz Cheema and Umar Gul backed up by the spin of Shahid Afridi and Saaed Ajmal can apply the pressure. It will be a close contest, but at [2.24] Pakistan are the value in the Match Odds market and have a great chance of securing revenge for that World Cup semi-final defeat.
Top Indian Batsman
Now that he's reached his milestone, the runs might come more freely for Sachin Tendulkar but at bigger odds, I prefer Suresh Raina. He hit a rapid half-century on Friday which should have blown away the cobwebs and he's worth backing at [6.5]
Top Pakistan Batsman
On a slowing pitch one or two of Pakistan's batsmen might lack the requisite patience, but the experienced Younis Khan is just the man for the job. He hasn't hit many runs yet, but he fell to a wonder catch from Fervez Maharoof last time so we can't read too much into his single figure score. He should be backed at [5.0]
So far the average number of fours per game is a touch over 42 with the lowest total being 35. At this venue, the four tally is unlikely to drop much below 40, so '0-30' makes no appeal in the Total Fours market. Both '31-42' or '43 or more' are worth backing at [2.0] or better.
Back Pakistan to beat India at 2.24