$1.95 at Luxbet.com
Group 1 result: Runner-up
Win-loss record: 4-1
$1.95 at Bet365.com
Group 1 result: Winner
Win-loss record: 4-1
A MONTH ago, bookies would have given very tasty odds on England and the West Indies being the two sides to reach the 2016 World Twenty20 final.
But that’s exactly how it’s panned out.
India had pole position in Thursday’s semifinal thanks to a masterful 89 not out from Virat Kohli, but a total of 192 proved a fraction light as the Windies steamrolled the hosts with some brutal hitting in the latter overs.
Lendl Simmons, who only joined the squad this week as a replacement for the injured Andre Fletcher, starred with an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls, ably assisted by Johnson Charles (51) and later Andre Russell (43*).
He benefitted from a comedy of errors, earning no fewer than three reprieves due to missteps at the bowling crease and on the boundary rope, but the Mumbai Indians star relished his good fortune and shone brightest of all on a Wankhede wicket that oozed runs.
On the back of that man-of-the-match display, Simmons has moved in to $8 at Sportsbet.com to top score in the final at Eden Gardens this Sunday.
Most promising from Darren Sammy’s perspective was that his men got the job done without any real contribution from the human hurricane that is Chris Gayle, who was clean bowled in the second over by Jasprit Bumrah.
They also did it despite four of their five bowlers conceding more than nine runs per over, with Samuel Badree (1/26 off 4.0 overs) the odd one out on a pitch that offered little to the spinners.
But it was enough for the erratic but entertaining West Indies – $6 outsiders in the T20 World Cup outright betting prior to the match – to book a date with another surprise finalist.
While England’s limited-overs form improved steadily in the 12 months leading up to India 2016, few would have tipped them to outlast the likes of Australia, India, South Africa and the upwardly mobile New Zealand.
It looked like the same old story when Gayle battered Eoin Morgan’s men around for an unbeaten century as the Windies triumphed in the opening match of the Super 10 stage.
But England’s own batting power has impressed from day one, with the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and especially Joe Root setting up scores of 170 or more in three out of four group games.
That included a miraculous 230-run chase against South Africa, where Root notched 83 in what many have dubbed the finest innings of a tournament littered with top-shelf individual displays.
They’ve also enjoyed good value from Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, their two unheralded tweakers, while Ben Stokes has provided the X-factor with his unrelenting aggression and all-round ability.
Morgan and company have reinvigorated English cricket with their ultra-positive, almost carefree approach over the last year, and they have vowed to take that mindset into Sunday’s decider at Kolkata.
“Whoever it is, we will meet them with all guns blazing,” Roy told reporters after top scoring in England’s semifinal win over New Zealand.
“We had a lot of negative feedback from a few people and to be in a World Cup final now has hopefully got a few more people on our side.”
He continued: “This game is another game of cricket – it just happens to be at Eden Gardens in a World Cup final in front of 100,000 people.
“It’s going to be an incredible experience but we are going to go out there and play our natural way and the brand of cricket we have been playing for the last year or so.”
World T20 final betting
The bookies cannot split these two.
Leading T20 World Cup betting sites rate England and West Indies as an even chance to take out the title, with Bet365 offering the best odds at $1.95 apiece.
There are, however, better margins to be had when you look beyond the head-to-head prices.
Highest opening partnership
England – $2.11 at Sportsbet
West Indies – $1.91 at CrownBet
Tie – $34 at Sportsbet
Highest first six overs
England – $1.90 at Bet365
West Indies – $2.03 at CrownBet
Tie – $21 at CrownBet
Most match sixes
England – $3.25 at Sportsbet
West Indies – $1.67 at CrownBet
Tie – $8 at Bet365
Bet365 match handicap
England +1.5 wickets or 4.5 runs – $1.90
West Indies -1.5 wickets or 4.5 runs – $1.90
Joe Root top batsman bets
If you’re going to back one Englishman to hold his nerve in front of 100,000 at Eden Gardens, Root is a very sound choice.
The unflappable Yorkshire native has won many admirers at India 2016 for his ability to employ a conventional batting technique so effectively in the bash-and-crash chaos of Twenty20 cricket.
Only Kohli (273) has bettered Root’s tournament tally of 195 runs, which have come at an average of 48.75 and a strike rate of 145.52.
Can he put together one more match-winning knock to bring home the title and top the World Twenty20 batting charts?
Man of the match – $9
Top England batsman – $4
Top England bowler – $13
Player performance over/under 31 – $1.90
England top tournament runscorer – $1.72
Odds provided by www.Bet365.com
Chris Gayle T20 odds
Perhaps more than any other player on the planet, Gayle is an all-or-nothing proposition.
Since knocking 100 off 48 balls in the opening fixture of the group stage, the swashbuckling Jamaican has added only nine more runs in two innings.
While they are capable of winning without his help, as they showed against India on Thursday, a strong start from Gayle makes life that much easier for a West Indies outfit which is prone to fits of mind-boggling incompetence.
He’s already given the Brits a heavy beating at India 2016, so there’s no reason he can’t produce a repeat performance in Kolkata.
Man of the match – $8
Top West Indies batsman – $3.40
Player performance under 29 – $2
To outscore Jason Roy – $1.90
To outscore Lendl Simmons – $1.72
Odds provided by Bet365.com
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