- ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
- Friday 28 October, 2022
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (5am UK)
Coming into the Super 12s, surely the Irish would have been thinking, ‘Beat Afghanistan and then anything else is a bonus’
The journey of these two nations has been almost identical in recent years - Associate nations turned into Test Match playing countries.
The ICC rankings for both T20Is and ODIs tell you that Afghanistan are marginally ahead in their progression. They are ranked 10th in both formats to Ireland’s 12th and 11th.
Evenly matched? Definitely
But the Irish will be cock-a-hoop after their famous win over England and will now be wondering what else is possible. It is not completely out of the question they could be in the hunt for a semi-final place if they down Rashid Khan and co.
I certainly think they have every chance of beating Afghanistan, who were rained off against New Zealand at Melbourne just hours after the victory for the men in green.
They would be my favoured option here at 13/10 with Betfred against a side who could be undercooked having played only once at this World Cup compared to an Irish side who have played five times.
Ireland also beat Afghanistan 3-2 in a home series earlier this summer.
Let’s hope Lorcan Tucks in
I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a wicketkeeper with a low player performance marker on bet365. On this occasion, I’m a sucker for Tucker!
Ireland wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker has been priced up at over or under 28.5 for this fixture, a mark he has gone over in five of his last eight T20 internationals, including against England yesterday when he hit 34 from number three and took an early catch behind.
I would be going over that 28.5 at 5/6.
Rahman is my Man
For Afghanistan interest, I would also be keen to take over on the same company’s marker for their spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who is priced at 20.5 for 10/11.
Mujeeb topped that mark in his country’s opening defeat against England with a wicket and a catch, and he came into this tournament on the back of an encouraging Caribbean Premier League with Barbados Royals through September when he took 10 wickets in seven games.
He enjoys playing against Ireland, and has taken 18 of his 46 T20I wickets against them, plus 23 of his 79 wickets in ODIs. In both formats, he has struck against Ireland more than any other opponent.
With that in mind, I would also be taking the 10/3 Ladbrokes are offering on him to be his country’s top bowler in this match, bettering overwhelming favourite Rashid Khan.
Further juicy prices with Ladbrokes have appeal
For the adventurous amongst you, Ladbrokes have two combination bets at big prices, one including an Ireland win.
The first is the 10/1 on Ireland to win and opening quick Josh Little to take three plus wickets.
Little struck twice with the new ball against England and three times in the tournament opener against Zimbabwe. The left-armer was exceptional for Manchester Originals in the Hundred prior to that, including a five-wicket haul.
The other bet includes Little as well. The same company are offering 16/1 on Little to claim two or more wickets, Paul Stirling to hit a six and his opening partner Andrew Balbirnie to score a fifty.
Stirling and, chiefly, Balbirnie have started to find some form over the last few games, the latter player of the match against England with a superb 62.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.