Virat Kohli is well capable of going big in T20 cricket
England begin the defence of their World T20 title in Sri Lanka this week and Stuart Broad’s new brood will look to prove that there is life in the international stage after Kevin Pietersen. KP was man of the tournament as England won the crown in West Indies in 2010. But his failure to commit to all forms of international cricket has seen him miss out on a place in the squad. It’s a bold decision from the management and England will have to go deep into the tournament for it not to be dredged up.
The subcontinent was often a mystery for touring sides who found it tough to combat the slow, low turning wickets. But that is no longer the case as teams from around the globe have their own weapons to bring to the party. As such, home advantage is likely to count for little and it all makes for a wide-open competition.
The teams have been split into three groups of four and it should be a formality for England to progress out of a pool containing India and Afghanistan – given that two advance to the Super Eight stage.
England open up their challenge against India and it will be a gauge of where they are in relation to the major nations. India are the 4/1 favourites for victory and it is no surprise given their record in the short format and how much T20 cricket their players get through.
England are available to back at 15/2 with bet365 – with only New Zealand, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan available at bigger odds. That would suggest the bookmakers do not rate England’s chances.
Given England are the No. 1 ranked side in T20 cricket, it could be argued that Broad’s men are overpriced. They beat Australia in a warm-up game – with Alex Hales, Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan contributing with the bat. With Craig Kieswetter, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow other batting weapons, it’s a line-up well capable of putting on big runs.
And with bowling options such as Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Broad – there is every reason to believe England are well capable of mounting a strong defence of their crown. The recent three-game series with South Africa ended as a draw, with one no result, so there is no real reason for England to be 15/2 and South Africa 5/1.
There are a range of markets available to bet on and one that will provide interest throughout the competition is the top batsman market. Craig Kieswetter is the favourite in the top England batsman market at 7/2. Given he will be handed licence at the top of the order he makes plenty of appeal. Eoin Morgan is viewed as a T20 specialist but he does not make great appeal at 9/2 as if England bat well at the top of the order he may not get enough time at the crease.
There are some huge hitters in the tournament, with Chris Gayle arguably the biggest of the lot. The bookmakers are running scared of the West Indian, as he is clear favourite at 6/1 in the top batsman market. He takes out a huge percentage, which offers a bit of value elsewhere, and our idea of the man to punt on is Virat Kohli. The India star has flourished this year and is on red-hot form - he was named ODI cricketer of the year for 2012. He can be backed at 12/1 and that looks a fine each-way punt given bet365 are offering ¼ the odds for 1,2,3,4.
Click here to bet on the Twenty20 World Cup with bet365
Sri Lanka 5/1
South Africa 5/1
West Indies 6/1
New Zealand 16/1