ODI Betting: On recent form, Asia Cup for Bangladesh
For the first time in their history Bangladesh have managed back-to-back wins against two different Test playing nations.
Andrew Hughes has his money on Bangladesh to seize the silverware in the Asia Cup on Thursday.
Shafiul Islam is still out with a shoulder injury but his replacement Nazmul Hossain bowled brilliantly against Sri Lanka and will surely keep his place. Nazimuddin failed again and is vulnerable but Bangladesh won't want to try a new opening partnership for such a big game.
Giving the gloves to Umar Akmal allowed Pakistan to play the extra bowler against India in their last game. It wasn't enough to contain the Indian top order, but they'll probably stick with it against Bangladesh, rather than bringing in Asad Shafiq to strengthen the batting.
Venue and Conditions
It isn't quite the case that winning the toss means you win the game, but there's a clear pattern emerging at the Shere Bangla Stadium. Each of the last four games has gone to the team batting second and the evening dew is certainly making it harder for the fielding team to grip the ball. Win the toss and put the other lot in is the way to go and there's no more rain forecast to complicate matters.
For the first time in their history Bangladesh have managed back-to-back wins against two different Test playing nations, which makes reaching the final of the Asia Cup another significant step in their development, more important still than the surprise drubbing they gave to New Zealand in a one day series in 2010. Punters should forget their record of one win in 30 attempts against Pakistan. This is a team on the up.
Although Pakistan look the better team on paper, these two teams have similar strengths and weaknesses. Both have inconsistent batting line-ups; both have seam bowlers who blow hot and cold and both rely strongly on their spinners, although Bangladesh's trio of left-armers look primarily to contain whereas Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammed Hafeez are a potent wicket-taking threat.
Given that there is more depth to the Pakistan batting, you could argue that they should be slight favourites. However, we should always let the odds be the final arbiter. On what we've seen in this tournament, Bangladesh should not be nearly three times the price of their opponent. At a venue where luck at the toss can also play a big part, Bangladesh are way too high at [3.5] and should be backed accordingly.
Top Bangladesh Batsman
Whilst Bangladesh could not have got to the final without useful contributions from their lesser batsmen, when it comes to looking for the top scorer, you want to concentrate on the two reliable performers. Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal are streets ahead of their peers and at bigger odds of [5.0] I prefer Shakib.
Top Pakistan Batsman
Pakistan's middle order is quite fluid and Umar Akmal, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi can all bat anywhere from three to seven. Bearing that in mind it's safest to stick with the in-form openers, Mohammed Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed, with preference for the more experienced Hafeez at [4.5]
The six games in this tournament have seen six centuries struck and an average top score of over ninety. With the weather set fair and the venue favouring batsmanship it's worth backing 'Over 82.5' in the 'Highest Individual Score' market at [1.75] or more.
Back Bangladesh to beat Pakistan at [3.5]