Hawkeye on England v Pakistan First ODI: Imam the man to follow



England v Pakistan
Thursday 7 July 13.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Babar no bet

We stick to what we know when it comes to punting. And as much fun as it might be to try to decipher the value from England’s emergency squad, it is likely to prove fruitless.

As discussed in our match preview, Ben Stokes is outstanding value at 5/1. He has five wins in 20 in England’s strongest batting line-up so he should, in reality, be closer to 3/1. In a weaker team it’s a great bet.

There is fun to be had deciding who to follow for top Pakistan bat. There are three strong contenders, although one of them is not the revered Babar Azam.

Babar is part of the Big Five rungetters in international cricket and there is no doubting his brilliance. And that is why Sportsbook take no risks whatsoever at 9/4.

His record in the last three years, as you can see below, is strong but not strong enough for those odds. There’s a seven-point swing against the bettor on implied probability. Babar was even cut from 5/2 after England named their new line-up, which looks particularly weak with the ball. Babar is 4/1 for top match runscorer

Fret not, though, because Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Haris Sohail are all value. Fakhar and Imam are expected to open the batting.

Fakhar is 7/2 with Sportsbook, giving up three points while Imam, who is actually the most reliable Pakistan batter on this market in the study period, gives us five points at 4/1. He was also cut from 9/2. Imam has an excellent record in England, averaging 53 from 12 innings with two tons.

Haris was advised at a massive 16/1 in our series preview because we were worried the price wouldn’t last. It hasn’t but the 8/1 is not skinny enough on win rate. There’s still a massive 14% in your favour with win rate versus implied probability Sportsbook odds. If you missed the earlier price, don’t miss the latest. He’s also 14/1 for top match bat.

Finally, Shaheen Shah Afridi should be dangerous in potentially seaming and swinging conditions. Sportsbook go 5/2 he finishes as top Pakistan bowler. That seems short but there is still an edge on win rate.

Top Pakistan bat wins/matches last three years
Zaman 6 t/24
Babar 6 t/26
Imam 7/27
Hasan 1/13
Imad 2/23
Abid 1/6
Haris 4/16
Sarfaraz 1/19
T=tie

Top Pakistan bowler wins/matches last three years
Afridi 6 4t/18
Hasan 2 2t/12
Hasnain 2t/8
Shadab t/15
Faheem 2t/12
Imad 4t/23
Rauf 1 t/5
Nawaz t/2

Take on Vince

The James Vince fan boys will be beside themselves. Finally their hero gets another chance to reignite his England career.

Expected to bat at No 3 Vince is likely to look a million bucks on his way to 25 or 30-odd. And then dolly up a catch. He’s a specialist at that as well as producing gorgeous cover drives.

And there is something cheeky (and opportunistic) about Sportsbook setting his runs quote at 27.5, over or under at 20/21 and 20/23 respectively.

The inconvenient fact about Vince is that he has played 14 ODI innings – his last in the 2019 World Cup when England were delighted to get Jason Roy fit again – and recorded only one fifty. And that was on debut. He averages 23 at a strike rate of 88. If the latter was in the mid-90s he might be excused. Scores of 25, 16 and 16 against Ireland last summer meant England lost patience.

Shorting the 27.5 would have won you money ten times. If the quote had been set three tuns lower, you’d have won only five. Vince is truly brilliant at getting to 20-odd. The shrewd way to play Vince would be for to wait to him to get into the late teens and then short him in-play with a bit more on your side.

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