Match 27 – 7:30pm local time on Friday, March 25, 2016 at VCA Stadium, Nagpur
$1.66 at Sportsbet.com
Win-loss record: 1-1
ICC ranking: 4th
$2.28 at CrownBet.com
Win-loss record: 2-0
ICC ranking: 2nd
IS it possible to throw away the title in the opening match of a tournament?
That was the question surrounding South Africa after they allowed England to chase down a world-record 229 in their first game of the 2016 World Twenty20.
That Mumbai pitch was a batsman’s paradise, but the expensive and toothless displays from Dale Steyn and Chris Morris have intensified concerns about the Proteas’ bowling depth.
Imran Tahir, the sole specialist spinner in the squad, was the only SA bowler to concede fewer than 10 runs per over.
They bounced back on Sunday with a comfortable win against the plucky Afghanistan, with Morris (4/27) and Tahir (2/24) leading the charge after AB de Villiers (64), Quinton de Kock (45) and Faf du Plessis (41) set up another 200+ total.
Steyn was omitted for that clash, but he could be reinstated straight away after David Wiese gave up 47 runs off four wicketless overs.
Whoever makes the cut for Friday, they will have their hands full against a powerful West Indies outfit in dangerous touch.
The Caribbean side made it two wins from two at the weekend, defeating Sri Lanka by seven wickets to retain top spot in Group 1.
The spin duo of Samuel Badree (3/12) and Sulieman Benn (0/13) did the early work, notching 30 dot balls between them as the Lankans scraped to 122 in 20 overs.
Then Andre Fletcher stole the show, carting an unbeaten 84 off 64 balls at the top of the order to seal the deal with the best part of two overs remaining.
They didn’t even require the services of Chris Gayle, who had smashed a 48-ball century against England only a few days prior.
The veteran Jamaican tweaked his hamstring in the field and spent much of Sri Lanka’s innings in the dressing room, which meant he couldn’t bat until sitting out the same amount of time during the Windies’ dig.
He had to be reminded of that fact by Ian Gould, the fourth umpire, who dragged Gayle off the field when he attempted to appease the crowd at Bengaluru – his home base in the IPL – by stepping out down the order.
The West Indies camp was quick to insist Gayle’s hamstring problem was only a “twinge” and “not a major injury”, but it remains unclear whether he will pull up in time to face South Africa.
Hashim Amla betting markets
Believe it or not, Amla wasn’t quite a certainty for the first XI in the lead-up to India 2016.
The former Test captain looked like the man to miss out as South Africa experimented with AB de Villiers alongside Quinton de Kock at the top of the order in recent T20 series against England and Australia.
But those plans appear to have been scrapped, not least due to Amla’s excellent returns when given an opportunity.
He was picked for the Super 10 opener against England and justified his selection immediately, putting on 96 with de Kock and notching 58 himself.
He only managed five runs against Afghanistan in another strong South African batting performance, but players of Amla’s quality rarely miss out twice in a row (as his recent record shows).
Man of the match – $11
Top match runscorer – $7
Top South Africa batsman – $4.20
Over 29.5 runs – $2.34
Under 21.5 runs – $1.91
Odds provided by www.Sportsbet.com
Samuel Badree Twenty20 bets
When Sunil Narine was ruled out of the 2016 T20 World Cup, it was thought the West Indies had lost their most important player.
As it turns out, Narine’s ban has given another Caribbean spinner the opportunity to shine.
Badree was the key man against Sri Lanka, taking three middle-order wickets and conceding only 12 runs from his 24 deliveries.
More of a top-spin bowler than a conventional leg-break merchant, his subtle variations and well-grooved googly seem like a perfect match for conditions where Anil Kumble proved so effective for so many years.
He and Benn could hardly ask for a more suitable venue than Nagpur, where spin has dominated thus far in the tournament – most notably in New Zealand’s stunning victory over India in the opening match of the Super 10 round.
Man of the match – $15
Top West Indies bowler – $4
Player performance under/over 23 – $1.83
Top West Indies batsman – $201
Odds provided by www.Bet365.com
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