In a evenly matched contest, according to the bookies’ betting odds at least, Australia tackle the West Indies in the T20 Cricket World Cup (3pm BST, Saturday, Sept 22).
Australia are virtually certain of a place in the Super Eight stages but have we seen enough from George Bailey’s side to suggest that they can defeat the West Indies and go on to challenge for the trophy?
This is the West Indians first game in the tournament. Many people are suggesting that they are a likely outside bet to reach the final. This contest should give us an important insight into their credentials.
All-rounder Shane Watson was a clear winner of the man of the match award in his team’s first victory over Ireland. Watson helped restrict the Irish to a below par total of 123 with figures of 3-26. He then proceeded to hit 51 from just 30 balls as the Aussies got over the line with nearly five overs to spare.
Watson’s contribution will be a key factor once again. There were also useful offerings from David Warner and Cameron White. It suggested the Australians are batting well as a unit. Their bowling attack also provided all the support that Watson needed and you should never write off the Aussies in a major tournament.
The West Indians have a side that is perfect for the shortest form of the game. It contains individuals that are going to be highly sought after when the bidding in the Indian Premier League resumes next year.
The return of Chris Gayle after his disputes with the West Indian cricket board has undoubtedly made this a much stronger unit. Gayle heads the batting and was a clear favourite to finish this tournament as top scorer. Even if the opposition can get him early, that still leaves the power hitting of Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to name but three.
So the batting is immensely strong but some people consider that the Windies’ bowling is their weaker link. That may be true overall but in Sunil Narine, they have one of the best slow bowlers in world cricket today. Last season’s IPL was a breakthrough tournament for the mystery spinner. Even if he isn’t taking wickets, Narine can peg back the run rate and keep the opposition to a sub-par total.
The key to West Indian success therefore lies with Chris Gayle at the top of the order and Sunil Narine when the time comes for Sammy’s men to bowl. If Australia can get Gayle early and keep Narine at bay then they can win this contest.
As for Bailey’s side, they will know that Ireland provided little in the way of a challenge but there were many positives from that match, particularly in the way that they played as a team, rather than having to rely on one individual.
However, Gayle at the crease for ten overs or more would be enough to win it and it would be no surprise to see him make an explosive start to his own tournament and take this match out of the opposition’s reach.
Betting Tips Advice: West Indies to win at biggest odds of 21/20 with Paddy Power Bookmaker. If that price disappears, as the Paddies are out on their own with it, then Bet365 and Betfred go evens, which is only the smallest fraction shorter.