Hawkeye on England v Sri Lanka First T20: Malan still the man

England v Sri Lanka
Wednesday 23 June 18.30
TV: live on Sky Sports

Buttler a swerve

Jos Buttler has been price-boosted by Betfair Sportsbook by 3/1 to top score for England. Not so long ago, we would have been all over that price.

But Buttler is not the reliable winner he was. It’s just two wins in his last 13 as the outrageous hitting ability – which actually propelled him into England’s Test team, don’t forget – has gone awry.

Even in the Indian Premier League, he was something of a disappointment when going off as short favourite. He managed two wins in seven to cost regular backers who were dealing with prices of 11/4 and 5/2.

After a period of rest following the IPL, he has returned to Blast action with Lancashire. He has looked fluent, winning the market once from four. However, he has not been opening the batting.

The analysts will tell you that Buttler’s best position is in the middle-order where he can excel as a finisher. This ‘demotion’ for Lancashire may mean England think again about his role, particularly with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, a settled opening duo in ODI, in the squad. Liam Livingstone, the Lancashire opener, is another option.

It could well be that Buttler is a man freed if he opens again, cutting loose against a weak Sri Lanka attack on a decent wicket, as discussed in our match preview . And we are not arguing that Buttler is a poor player, just that even with the extra points added he is not a wrong price.

It is impossible to ignore that element of the bet when he goes up against a man who is a wrong price and is one of the chief reasons for Buttler’s diminishing returns on the market. Dawid Malan is under an injury cloud but if he plays, you will have yourself a perfectly good wager at 9/2.

At those odds, Sportsbook give Malan an implied probability chance of 18.2%. On win rate (seven wins in 19 as per the data below), we rate Malan as short as 7/4 (36.4%). Malan has not fired in the Blast, either, but it’s only three weeks since he made 199 against Sussex in the Championship. It might be premature to start casting doubts about his form.

Jonny Bairstow is a smidge of value (1.5%) at 4/1. But the best way for Jonny to be good is to wait in-play. A couple of points will tick up on that price relatively quickly with Roy and Malan in for a couple of overs.

Top England bat last two years wins/matches
Malan 7/19
Bairstow 5/23
Morgan 2/24
Buttler 2/13
Moeen 1/9
Stokes 1/11
Roy 3/11
Billings 1/8

Top England bowler wins/matches last two years
Jordan 5 3t/24
Rashid 3 3t/23
Archer 3/12
T Curran 1 3t/20
S Curran 1 3t/13
Wood 1 t/12
Stokes 1 2t/11

Dananjaya could be in-play magic

There’s a big edge (one of the biggest we’ve seen for a touring player) on Kusal Perera top batting for Sri Lanka. A massive 11% at Sportsbook’s 3/1.

Kusal is market favourite but there is confusion where he will bat. He could open, go in first down or be the main man in the engine room at number four. It might not be a bad thing if he does bat at four with plenty of zip expected in Cardiff under lights. That could be tricky for the Sri Lankans who have had no preparation time.

With the risk of them being razed, there is obviously appeal to betting big numbers lower down. Dananjaya de Silva is a class operator and although the 8/1 is a bit miserly, we’ll take a couple of extra points with the innings up and running.

The excellent Wanindu Hasaranga is a fair favourite at 11/4 for top Sri Lanka bowler. Hasaranga takes a wicket every 12.4 balls in the last three years. He’s not a bad shout, either, at 14s for top bat.

Top Sri Lanka bat wins/matches last three years
Gunathilaka 3/12
Dickwella 1/
Kusal 4/11 –
Wanindu 1/16
Nissanka 1/3
Shanaka 2/13
Dananjaya 1/10
Nissanka 1/3

A T20 international double header on Cricket…Only Bettor

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