Neutral cricket fans and supporters of Afghanistan may have been hoping that this team would cause a few upsets at this World Cup. Having won once at the 2015 tournament, this current squad should have equaled that record at least but instead, it’s been a long and unproductive haul.
It’s about to get worse: Up next for Afghanistan is unbeaten India, who will be expecting their most comfortable 100 overs in a long time.
India starts this game at very short odds of -2500. As for Afghanistan, the longest odds we could find were +1500.
That’s a huge gap and indicative of the size of the task facing the Afghans but is there any hope of them delivering a shock?
Anyone looking for Indian weaknesses moving forward might have pointed to the loss of Shikhar Dhawan. The left-hander had just completed his 17th ODI hundred when injury struck and he was eventually forced out of the World Cup.
There was no need to panic, however, as KL Rahul stepped in to fill the gap perfectly against Pakistan. Rahul may not have scored at the same pace as Dhawan but his patient 57 suggests that his side should have no issues at the top of the order. The 2011 champions possess a potent top three and their progress against Afghanistan’s struggling bowlers is one key to the outcome of this match.
Even if Afghanistan’s bowlers manage to restrict India to a reasonable total, their batters need to do a job. Unfortunately for the struggling Afghans, many of India’s best bowlers are finding top form and Kuldeep Yadav in particular was a key element as they eased past Pakistan.
This isn’t a game where we should be looking to make any exceptional profits. This would surely be ranked as the biggest upset in World Cup history if Afghanistan were to win it so we should look at other options to try to obtain any value.
Firstly, that result is the most guaranteed outcome at this tournament, so if you like all your profits to be tiny ones, take India at that -2500 price.
We would suggest switching and taking at least one prop bet. The man in serious batting form at the moment is India’s Rohit Sharma and he will come into this contest with an incredible average of 159.50. Rohit has taken apart much better bowling attacks than the one he will be faced with on Saturday and we expect that form to continue.
Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy the game before waiting for stiffer tests to follow. We’ve seen surprise outcomes in previous tournaments but this is a perfect opportunity for India to win big and show the bigger nations that they are the team to beat in 2019.