As favourites to win Group B, South Africa started their Champions Trophy campaign with an emphatic win over Sri Lanka at the weekend and will now be looking to seal a place in the semi finals. Pakistan were equally emphatic in defeat against India on Sunday but can Mohammad Hafeez’s side show any signs of improvement that could lead to an upset?
It’s a predictable market for Wednesday’s game in Birmingham with the South Africans clear favourites at odds of 1.36 with Bet365, That’s a figure that leaves Pakistan as a distant outside punt at 3.25 with Betfair.
The relative margins of victory and defeat back up the bookmakers’ theory that this can only go one way. South Africa took their match with Sri Lanka by 96 runs while even Duckworth Lewis couldn’t mask the significance of Pakistan’s 124 run loss to India.
At one point, Sri Lanka were in a strong position in that opener and that hinted at South Africa’s possible vulnerability but it would need an unlikely change in form to see any kind of upset here.
Match Odds Summary: South Africa 1.36 (Bet365 – Editor’s Pick), Pakistan 3.25 (Betfair).
Hashim Amla was the predictable batting hero for South Africa with his 25th ODI hundred and the opener is one of two joint favourites to top score for his side against Pakistan at odds of 4.00 with Bet365. Quinton De Kock can also be picked up at 4.00 with Bet365 while AB De Villiers is on offer at 4.33 with Bet365 once again.
Faf Du Plessis is another option at best odds of 5.50 with Bet365 and it would be hard to see beyond the top four, although David Miller at 8.00 can give some value in the late overs.
For Pakistan, Babar Azam is the narrow favourite at 4.33 with Bet365 while Azhar Ali, top scorer with 50 against India, gives you more value at best odds of 4.50 with Bet365 once again. In a tight market, skipper Hafeez is quoted at 5.00 with Bet365 while Shoaib Malik and Ahmed Shehzad can both be picked up at 5.50 with Bet365 again.
There are lots of options there but across the two markets, we’re backing AB De Villiers to provide something special after a relatively subdued period with the bat.
Top Batsman Odds Summary: South Africa: Amla 4.00 (Bet365), De Kock 4.00 (Bet365), De Villiers 4.33 (Bet365 – Editor’s Pick), Du Plessis 5.50 (Bet365), Miller 8.00 (Bet365).
Pakistan: Azam 4.33 (Bet365), Ali 4.50 (Bet365), Hafeez 5.00 (Bet365), Malik 5.50 (Bet365), Shehzad 5.50 (Bet365).
Other Side Bets
If you’ve been following the individual century market then this will have performed quite well for you so far and on Wednesday, you can get a relatively high price of 1.72 with Bet365 on any player going past three figures.
Elsewhere, there could be some value in the Powerplay market with Pakistan the tempting outside option at 2.37 with Bet365 to be ahead at the end of the first 15 overs. South Africa are favourites here at 1.57, also with Bet365.
Lots of side markets available here but, we’ll look to play fairly safe and if the weather is clear for the full 100 overs, that individual century should be something of a banker.
Will a Player score a 100 Odds Summary: Yes 1.72 (Bet365 – Editor’s Pick), No 2.00 (Bet365).
So far, the forecast looks good for Wednesday in a tournament that has already been affected by rain. If we get a full 100 overs then I’d expect to see some improvement from Pakistan with the bat but it’s unlikely to be enough against a strong South African side that is full of in form batters who can post or chase a big total and take the points.