TRADER CHAT: We have another Trader Chat Q&A Special – this looking ahead to the Cricket World Cup with with John Brackenridge (JB), Star Sports Head of Sports.
The tournament kicks off on Thursday with ENGLAND v NEW ZEALAND from the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India.
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Q: With the various forms of Cricket in the modern day, could you start by just giving us a quick overview of the format please? 🏏
A: The tournament, hosted this time in India, starts on Thursday 5th October, every team plays one another in a single group of 10 with the top 4 qualifying for the semi-final, where the top team plays fourth place and second plays third, with the two winners progressing to the final on 16th November. It’s played using the 50 over One Day International format whereby both teams’ bat just once, whoever scores the most runs wins (2 points for a win, 1 point for tie/or no result). The ODI World Cup comes round every 4 years and who can forget last time out at Lords with England just getting over the line against New Zealand in THAT Super Over.
Q: From a trading perspective, what’s the difference between this tournament and other events? 🏏
A: The main difference being there aren’t very many top tier 50 over competitions left with the growth of T20 cricket meaning we very rarely see the best of the best play the format unless in a World Cup cycle. The other major difference is the structure of the tournament whereby every team plays one another in a single group of 10, meaning there is a great opportunity for some upsets and recoveries, all in all a feast of cricket to enjoy over the next 6 weeks.
Q: You have India as firm favourites; how much is this biased by having home advantage? 🏏
A: It certainly helps but they are also the number one ranked team in the world and you will struggle to find any International tournament whereby they are not in the first two in the betting. The previous three ODI World Cups has seen the hosts (or co-hosts) lift the trophy each time so there is plenty in their favour. The money has come in for India over the past few days we are now a 15/8 chance, from 9/4, that India lift the trophy in Ahmedabad on 16th November.
Q: What do you believe are the overall strengths and weaknesses of this England squad? 🏏
A: The main strength is the core of the squad have been there and done it before, they are experienced in winning these tournaments which will count for a lot. For the likes of Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes & Mark Wood it is probably their last ODI World Cup and defending their title away in India would be an incredible achievement for this generation. For me the main concern is the lack of recent 50 over cricket, especially in the sub-continent, this group have played. A four match home series versus New Zealand and one rain affected game against Bangladesh means England come into the tournament a lot more undercooked compared to the likes of India & Australia especially. Potential perhaps to start cold and warm up as the tournament progresses.
Q: Which are the countries that you believe could still be around come the Semi-Final stage ? 🏏
A: Over the course of nine matches you expect the quality to shine through, so you’ve got to be looking at India (1/10 to qualify for the semi-finals), England (1/4) and Australia (2/7) to be there or there abouts at the business end. After that it looks to be between Pakistan (10/11), South Africa (5/4) & New Zealand (6/4) for the final berth. Personally I’d be leaning towards South Africa, their preparation has been good beating Australia and it feels like this could be the tournament where batsman Heinrich Klaasen (pictured below) shows the world what he is capable of. Losing fast bowler Anrich Nortje is a blow but they have plenty in reserve and match winners aplenty with the bat. Whether they can quite get over the line in a major tournament is up for debate but a run to the semi-final is certainly a possibility.
Q: On the flip side, is there any country you believe could underperform at this tournament? 🏏
A: I wouldn’t be overly keen on New Zealand’s (10/1) chances, runners up 4 years ago on pitches that would have suited better, they may come unstuck in the sub-continent. If they are to reach the Semi-Finals it could be Glenn Phillips batting in the middle order that fires them to competitive totals. Pakistan are another who in India I’d be happy to be against despite having number 1 ranked ODI batsman Babar Azam within their ranks. The middle order and bit part bowlers don’t look up to the quality of the sides around them and we are currently 15/2 top industry price (Star Boost) for them to win the tournament.
Q: Two of the most popular areas of outright betting attention is Tournament Top Batsman and Tournament Top Bowler, could you tell us who to look out for and possibly highlight a couple of dark horses to follow? 🏏
A: Both markets look fiercely competitive and as such we are paying out on an industry leading 5 places (1/5 odds) across both. Top Batsman all the money has been for Indian superstar Shubman Gill who is having a 12 months to remember, top scorer in the IPL this year he has taken this form into the ODI arena and is now ranked #2 in the world. We opened up 8/1, he is now into 6/1 with India expected to go deep. The aforementioned Babar Azam (17/2) looks a solid challenger whilst at bigger prices Rassie van der Dussen is a ODI specialist, and he could well outrun his odds (28/1). Onto the bowlers and the Indian pair of Jasprit Bumrah & Kuldeep Yadav lead the market at 9/1, with the likelihood that they, as well as the likes of Siraj, Shami & Jadeja will take wickets off each other I’d be looking towards Trent Boult (12/1) to go well. Canny operator Boult will pick up wickets up top & at the death and is accustomed to Indian wickets having taken 105 wickets in his IPL career. Another to watch out for is Sri Lankan Matheesha Pathirana (25/1), a slingy action he is expected to pick up a lot of wickets at the death.
Q: Finally, What are some unique markets that Star Sports are offering for this event? 🏏
A: We like to try and produce some thinkers for these tournaments so we have come up with ‘Batsman Pairs’ and ‘Bowling Pairs’, simply who will score the most combined runs or take the most combined wickets during the tournament. Betting Each Way 3 places (1/4 odds), odds below subject to fluctuation
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Thanks JB for the answers!