- ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
- Monday 17 October, 2022
- West Indies v Scotland, Ireland v Zimbabwe
- Blundstone Arena, Hobart (5am-9am UK)
What is effectively the qualifying stage of the World Cup begins over the next few days.
After Namibia, Netherlands, Sri Lanka and the UAE get Group A going in Geelong on Sunday, Group B begins in high-scoring Hobart on Monday.
Scotland and Ireland are vying to finish in the top two of the four-team group, playing their three respective rivals once. It is undoubtedly the tougher of the two groups, with them pitted against Test playing nations West Indies and Zimbabwe.
I expect the West Indies to run away with this group, leaving everyone else playing for second. And I also expect that to be a shootout between Ireland and Zimbabwe, making the day’s second fixture a hugely important one.
West Indies v Scotland, 5am, Hobart
Unless you fancy Scotland to spring a 6/1 surprise, which I don’t, there is very little value in backing the West Indies to win this one. They are a best price of 1/7 with William Hill.
So let us look elsewhere for some value.
I actually think it comes via a pair of batting markets. The first is with Ladbrokes, who are offering a price boosted 4/1 (from 5/2) on opener Evin Lewis to score a fifty in the match.
Now, left-handed Lewis hasn’t been in the best of form of late, with his most recent game time coming in the Caribbean Premier League. But there is no better time to turn that around, and he has reached 50 four times in his last 15 T20 internationals, dating back to last year.
At that price against an attack he should dominate, I would be happy to take that chance.
Scotland’s Top Batter
I think Scotland’s top batter market could be captured by Calum MacLeod, one of their most experienced batters.
This will be MacLeod’s 150th limited overs international appearance for his country, and he is their fourth leading T20 run-scorer with 1,190 runs in 61 games.
He is 9/2 to secure this market with Paddy Power. He opened in their last T20 international against New Zealand in July and scored 33, and he batted five in their warm-up clash with Netherlands a couple of days ago.
Either way, he should get plenty of time at the crease as I can see West Indies enjoying some success with the ball.
Ireland v Zimbabwe, 9am, Hobart
There isn’t much to choose between these two sides.
Ireland are marginal favourites at 17/20, while VBet have Zimbabwe at 21/20. My hunch is that the latter will come through.
The fact Ireland lost a warm-up game against Namibia doesn’t sit well with me, while Zimbabwe will be battle-hardened having played some really tough cricket in the last couple of months against Bangladesh, who they beat 2-1 in a series, and India and Australia.
They also beat Australia in an ODI in Australia early last month.
Irish left-armer quick Josh Little was outstanding during a brief, five-game spell in the Hundred for beaten finalists Manchester Originals. He took 13 wickets, two in four games and 5-13 in an another.
He is a 22-year-old who could excel on the pacy pitches in Australia, and I would be more than happy to take Betfred’s 10/3 on him to be Ireland’s top wicket-taker in the match.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.