New Zealand will have to beat Afghanistan to qualify. India will rely on Afghanistan beating New Zealand to enhance their chances of qualification into the semis. Namibia and Scotland have been knocked out. How will the final three matches of the group stage pan out? Odds Shark breaks them down along with Sportsbook’s odds.
For more T20 Cricket World Cup betting information, Odds Shark has an in-depth analysis on top batsman and top bowler for the rest of the World Cup.
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Prediction 1: Total Fours In The Match, UNDER 26.5 (-143)
Game: New Zealand vs Afghanistan, November 7, 2021
New Zealand has their destiny in their own hands. After beating India in their second match of the tournament, they have maintained their discipline to beat Scotland and Namibia. If they beat Afghanistan in this game, New Zealand will progress to the semis and knock India out of the competition.
New Zealand has been one of the better teams at reading situations and playing to their strengths. In the UAE, boundary hitting is not the easiest task for batsmen. For some batsmen, it makes a lot more sense to take the aerial route instead of placing the ball through the infield.
Case in point was New Zealand’s previous match against Namibia. In a score of 163 for 4, New Zealand hit just eight fours along with seven sixes. In the preceding match against Scotland, New Zealand scored 172 for 5. They hit just eight fours in that innings along with eight sixes. Fours are simply not easy to hit in these conditions.
“It’s the nature of how we play our T20 cricket, even back in New Zealand,” James Neesham explained. “I can’t imagine I would have faced more than 20 balls very often for New Zealand. It’s all about trying to load up the back end with wickets in hand and come out and be explosive. It’s just the nature of this team.”
Afghanistan employs a similar approach, opting for the higher-risk method of hitting the ball in the air. In a total of 144 for 5 against India, Afghanistan hit 10 fours and seven sixes. Right through their batting lineup, they have batsmen that can hit sixes but not many of their batsmen are adept at playing the ball late, under the eyes, and finding gaps through fielders. It is not the incorrect approach; it just works for them.
More importantly, both these teams have excellent spin-bowling lineups, which will not make run-scoring easy here. Afghanistan has one of the best spin attacks, including Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb. New Zealand will rely on Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner to take the ball away from the right-handers and use their defensive lines to keep the runs low.
Keeping the boundary count under 27, therefore, is not just a reliable pick in our Cricket World Cup predictions for this weekend, but it’s also rather likely.
What was said?
“We certainly knew coming into this tournament that it doesn’t matter who you face, there are match-winners out there,” NZ captain Kane Williamson said after the Scotland win. “We certainly saw that on both sides today, and it ebbed and flowed. It was great we were able to get a pretty competitive first-innings total. We were a little bit patchy with the ball but we’ll move on from this one and look to the next one. It all goes pretty quickly for us in this last half.”
Prediction 2: Pakistan Top Batsman In The Match: Babar Azam (+162)
Game: Pakistan vs Scotland, November 7, 2021
This is a pick based on form as well as the matchup. Scotland has not quite found their best in the group stage of the tournament, which is understandable considering how much the qualifiers would have taken out of them.
If Scotland bats first, it is unlikely that Pakistan will be chasing a high total. In that case, it makes sense to back one of Pakistan’s openers to be the top batsman. While Mohammad Rizwan (+200) has also been in dynamic form, the class and skill of Babar Azam will prove to be almost unimpeachable.
Rizwan has scored 199 runs in this tournament at an average of 99.50 and a strike rate of 133. Azam has scored 198 runs at an average of 66 and a strike rate of 124. These numbers are important because they show how these two batsmen deploy their respective roles.
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Usually, you would find that Rizwan is the more attacking batsman in their partnership. Azam maintains a high strike rate, usually above 120, simply because of his skill in maneuvering the field and finding gaps. Rizwan would take the aerial approach and hit more sixes although both batsmen are more traditional and orthodox hitters.
Therefore, this market simply comes down to probability. The likelihood is that Azam will not be dismissed as easily as Rizwan based on their respective approaches. And so, he would make for the perfect candidate to back in our Cricket World Cup predictions as Pakistan’s top batsman in this match.
What was said?
“It’s our last opportunity for a little while to play a game of cricket together,” Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer said. “It’s been a good seven weeks or so as a group, and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved. A few doors left open that we didn’t quite go through, I think, but that’s for us to deal with when we go home, and we have to deal with that and be willing to improve. We’re going to go into that game full of confidence as we possibly can.”
Prediction 3: India Fall of First Wicket: OVER 28.5 (-120)
Game: India vs Namibia, November 7, 2021
This Cricket World Cup prediction might come down to the match between New Zealand and Afghanistan. This match might be a dead rubber if New Zealand wins that game. Still, both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have found sensational form in the last two games.
First, against Afghanistan, both openers put on a 140-run stand for the first wicket as Rohit Sharma top-scored with 74 off just 47 balls in an innings that also featured eight fours and three sixes. KL Rahul scored 69 off 48 balls with six fours and two sixes.
Then, against Scotland, in their bid to improve India’s net run rate should New Zealand slip up against Afghanistan, the openers pummeled 70 runs in just 30 balls as Sharma chipped in with a 16-ball 30 while Rahul added 50 off just 19 balls.
In terms of form, there are no issues for either of these batsmen. Against a Namibia team that might find the step-up a bit too hard to handle, these Indian openers will be primed for a quick start, particularly if New Zealand loses to Afghanistan.
“In T20 cricket, any team can have an odd bad game or two but you can’t think too much about those defeats. You have to move on and think about the opportunities ahead. We will take the positives from those two games and look to play well in future games,” Ravindra Jadeja said after the win against Scotland opened the door for qualification.
Considering their broad range of strokes as well, these 29 runs could be knocked over in about three overs. The counter bet would be to back UNDER 28.5 runs at the fall of the first Indian wicket. That seems like a risky bet with these two in their current rhythm. And so, the OVER 28.5 could be the most reliable bet and makes our Cricket World Cup predictions.
What was said?
“Unfortunately, after the first two losses, I did feel a bit low about it, it wasn’t special, it never is when you lose a game,” Ravichandran Ashwin said after the win against Afghanistan. “Maybe our chance of qualification took a bit of a dent but after (Wednesday’s) win, we still do have our fingers crossed and hope things go right. But yes, barring that, it was a special night. Every single delivery that I wanted to execute fell in place.”
Odds Shark will return upon the conclusion of the group stage for more Cricket World Cup predictions from the UAE as the semifinals approach.