Heinrich Klaasen
Heinrich Klaasen

Cricket betting advice and ICC T20 World Cup tips from Paul Krishnamurty

Paul Krishnamurty's latest column includes a T20 betting masterclass and three recommended bets for the upcoming World Cup.

Cricket betting tips: ICC T20 World Cup

2pts Australia to win the ICC T20 World Cup at 15/4 (Betway)

1pt Phil Salt top tournament runscorer at 16/1 (Sky Bet)

1pt Heinrich Klaasen player of the tournament at 25/1 (General)

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Last year, before the Ashes and World Cup, I explained the dynamics and tactics involved in betting on Test and 50-over cricket. Now for the version which is rapidly usurping those traditional formats.

Superficially, T20 cricket appears random by comparison, but that isn’t the case. Franchise tournaments are invariably won by leading contenders, with the best squads and tournament pedigree. World Cups have produced a variety of winners, but nothing which could be described as a huge upset.

The only member of cricket’s ‘Big-8’ yet to reach a final is South Africa - which actually fits their strange, perennial failure in ICC tournaments. England come out best overall, with two wins and a losing final in the last six renewals, and are bidding to become the first team to successfully defend a World Cup.

Back extremes rather than middling

The least predictable aspect of T20 is runs totals, as extreme outcomes of any single innings are plausible. With batters going hell for leather from the outset - increasingly an essential requirement - a team’s run total could easily range from sub-100 to beyond 250.

Consequently, the in-play tactic explained in the 50-over piece - middling a teams runs between two outcomes - makes much less sense in this format. Simply backing the extremes at huge odds is a smarter strategy.

Travis Head of Sunrisers Hyderabad
Plenty of big hits for Travis Head at the IPL

Never has that been clearer than in the recent IPL. 250 - previously at best a once-per-season occurrence - was passed six times. More than a third of first innings reached 200. Evidently, across all tournaments, what constitutes a ‘par score’ has risen by 20-30 runs in recent years, as sides have become ever more aggressive. Total Sixes lines have also risen by at least 25%.

However there will also be plenty of very low scores. Out of 72 matches in the IPL, three first innings came in below 130, and one below 90. The odds about those low scores ranged between 25/1 and 100/1, paying a profit to anybody backing extreme unders in every game.

Bat now dominates ball

Nevertheless, high scores are now the norm in T20. To identify the best grounds and games in which to back runs and sixes, check out my guide to the grounds in use at this World Cup.

The IPL result strongly hinted at change. Historically, the advantage probably lay with teams whose bowlers could contain scoring. But in light of free-hitting KKR and Sunrisers reaching that final, it seems we should now look to back the most aggressive batting teams. Strike-rates below 135, even 140, simply won’t do.

There are a couple of key differences with this World Cup. Substitute batsman aren’t available - removing an escape clause for teams losing early wickets. That may slightly temper the aggression. Batting depth may prove as important.

Finishers are the key in the Caribbean

Furthermore, based on past Caribbean Premier Leagues, scoring isn’t as high in this part of the world, on slow, turning pitches.

Spinners often open the bowling in the West Indies, and scoring can be tough during the first powerplay. The key to success has been playing catch-up during the second half of the innings, emphasising the importance of a powerful middle-order.

West Indies talisman Andre Russell
West Indies middle-order powerhouse Andre Russell

Write off slower scorers

If high individual strike-rates are indeed essential, we can discount at least three ‘Big-8’ teams. New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s batsmen fall well short of that criteria. So do the West Indies, although that may owe more to playing in this lower-scoring part of the world.

Their side has power all the way down to 11, and nobody could accuse a middle-order including Hetmyer, Pooran, Russell and Powell of lacking power or aggression. Richard Mann makes a strong case for backing the Windies here.

Australia tick all the boxes

Comfortably the most powerful batting side is Australia. Opposition bowlers can at least breathe easier now that emerging superstar Jake Fraser-McGurk has been left out of the squad. Glenn Maxwell’s form is also a worry but I’m loathe to write off this mercurial character.

The Aussies have a side that will attack from the outset, and a middle to late-order that can kick on, including Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Mitch Marsh and Pat Cummins. Expect them to register some very big scores at the Kensington Oval. In addition to their world-class pacemen, spinners Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar should all prove effective in Caribbean conditions.

Another advantage for the Aussies is their group. Whereas all the other groups involve at least three realistic contenders for two qualifying places, Australia and England look booked for the Super 8. There, they will be strongly fancied to progress to the semis from a group which at worst, involves India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

CLICK HERE to back Australia with Sky Bet

India are, as ever, hugely respected. Their bowling is second-to-none and their spinners could make hay. However their consistent underperformance in the latter stages of events, and shorter odds, are a turn-off. For my money, 15/4 about the Aussies is a rock-solid bet.

Glenn Maxwell produced one of the greatest innings of all time at the Wankhede Stadium
Glenn Maxwell won't stay quiet for long

Back Klaasen for tournament honours

On paper, South Africa also make plenty of appeal. We saw their extreme power and superb middle-order in the early stages of the 50-over World Cup, before they collapsed under the pressure of a semi-final. Surely their abysmal run in big events will end soon.

In David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs, they are perfectly equipped to score very fast in the second half of their innings. Klaasen, a master against spin, is my pick for Player of the Tournament at 25/1.

Stick with Salt for top batsman

Group B, involving Australia, England plus three minnows in Scotland, Namibia and Oman, looks the best group for runs. Half of the matches are at run-friendly Barbados, where the big-guns could really make hay. It always makes sense to back an opener for Top Tournament Batsman and nobody fits the bill better than England’s Phil Salt at 16/1.

Salt was superb at the IPL, playing a key role in Kolkata’s triumph, averaging 40 at a strike-rate of 182. He was also England’s star performer in their tour of the West Indies last winter, hitting two tons and averaging 83.

CLICK HERE to back Salt with Sky Bet

Preview published at 1435 BST on 30/05/24

ALSO READ: Paul Krishnamurty's guide to the T20 World Cup grounds

England's openers at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba

ALSO READ: Richard Mann's T20 World Cup outright preview

West Indies talisman Andre Russell

ALSO READ: Richard Mann's T20 World Cup specials preview

More celebrations for Phil Salt

Related links

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