Pakistan is set to host Bangladesh in the first of the three T20Is at the Gaddafi Stadium, in Lahore, this Friday.
With both Pakistan and Bangladesh suffering away series defeats to Australia and India respectively, this is going to be a vital one for them, especially with the World T20 looming around. While both the units possess match winners, hosts Pakistan would get a head start ahead of the first match.
For us, the task is simple - sit back on our cozy sofa, enjoy the match on our flat screens and invest on the best odds in the market. No need to worry, I have already picked up the best six bets, three bets on the teams followed by three player bets. Just go through them, invest accordingly and the rest will follow.
Literally, there’s not much to separate the two teams when it comes to the opening stand, but I’ll still back the visiting team, especially when the odds are as high as 2.10, and here’s why?
Pakistan have never had the better opening partnership in the past five matches and have conceded a total of 263 runs (52.6 per innings) and scored just 59 runs (11.8 runs per innings). Even in the last five matches at home, only once did they outscore their opponents in terms of the opening partnership, having managed to score just 94 runs (18.8 per innings) and conceded 137 runs (27.4 per innings in the same time frame.
On the other hand, Bangladesh have had the upper hand in two of the last five matches, having scored 138 runs and conceded 206 runs. When playing away, Bangladesh has been a notch better, having had the better opening stand in three of the last five matches, scoring a total of 148 runs at a rate of almost 30 runs per innings and conceded 162 runs simultaneously. The recent form clearly indicates that the visitors are the frontrunners to win the bet.
None of the two teams boasts of big hitters, so this bet becomes all, the more difficult to substantiate, but looking at the recent form and the venue, Pakistan is my pick.
Of late, Bangladesh have been weak when it comes to heavy hitting and only once have they outnumbered their opponents in the last five matches, having struck a total of 19 sixes averaging less than 4 sixes per match, while conceding 30 (6 sixes per match). Their record has been even worse on the road, having struck 20 sixes (4 per match) and shipped in 34 maximums (6.8 per match) and have been the second best side on each occasion in the past five away matches.
Meanwhile, Pakistan have had a slightly better outing in the past five matches, having hit been outnumbered just twice. The record is identical is the last five matches at home too, but the H2H matches against Bangladesh is the one aspect which gives them an edge over their Asian rivals. In the last five H2H matches, Pakistan have always been the better side, having registered 27 sixes (5.4 sixes per match) and conceded just 16 (3.2 sixes per innings). By now, I hope you are more than convinced to place this particular bet.
This is surprising as well as intimidating but is surely inevitable.
Pakistan have never scored more than their opponents in the first six overs in their past five matches, having scored 171 runs (34.2 per innings), while conceded 264 runs at rate of 52.8 per innings. On the other hand, Bangladesh have had the upper hand in two of the last five occasions, having piled up 215 runs at an average of 43 runs per innings, while conceding exactly the same number of runs.
This might not be too convincing an argument, but if we look at some other stats, the situation looks far less debatable. Bangladesh’s openers Liton Das and Mohammad Naim sports strike rates of 138.05 and 133.64 respectively. On the flip side, Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez strikes at a rate of 84 while his partner Babar Azam has a rate of 127.49. There’s no way Pakistan are scoring more runs than Bangladesh in the first six overs. Just go for this bet.
From the moment I came across this bet, I made up my mind to invest in it. Why? First of all, it has odds of 3.50! And to know the other reason, just read along.
Arguably one of the best batsmen in the world right now in T20Is, Babar Azam has proved to be the most precious possession for Pakistan for quite some time now. In the last four matches, the right hander has racked up 142 runs at an average of 35.5, which is, crazily, still not justifiable by his standards.
If we look at his performances in the last five matches at home, it tells a more glorifying tale, with the opener amassing 191 runs at a rate of 38.2 per innings. Overall, Azam has played 10 matches in Pakistan and scored 421 runs sporting an average of 52.62! Overall in T20Is, Babar Azam has featured in 36 T20Is, scored 1405 runs at an average of 50.18 with a top score of 97. There’s no doubt that he is going to top the batting charts in the upcoming match.
Believe me, even I wouldn’t have thought of investing on this bet after what Babar Azam has done recently, but I was forced to change my mind once I came across some vital stats.
Even though Babar Azam has been mostly talked about as a T20I player in the past couple of years or so, he is not a big hitter of the ball, as he likes to play along the ground. In the last five matches, he has hit only two sixes and has not registered a single maximum in four of those games. In the last five matches at home, where he has scored most of his runs, he managed to clear the rope just once.
Overall, in Pakistan, Azam has played 10 matches, but struck only 3 sixes (0.3 sixes per game) which shows that he is not too fond of taking the aerial route quite often. Even in 2019, the batsman hit only a couple of over boundaries in the six matches he featured in, which is equivalent to one six per two matches. Till date, Azam has played 36 T20Is and registered just 20 sixes (0.55 per game). Having played 7 matches in Lahore, the right-hander has hit just a couple of sixes, which certainly tells us a tale – just go for this bet.
That’s quite a call, isn’t it? But the dynamic batsman has under achieved in the longest format of the game since making his debut back in 2007. Let us look at his numbers minutely.
Having last played a T20I back in 2018, his last five scores read 8, 15, 5, 21 and 74, which shows that he has scored north of 24 just once. Moreover, he has played just two knocks of 25 and above in the 10 T20Is he featured in. But, there are more stats to back up my claim. Having played 12 matches against Pakistan in his entire career, Iqbal just scored 186 runs at an average of 15.50 with a high score of exactly 24. That more or less seals the deal.
Let me also inform you that the southpaw has played 75 T20Is overall and his average is 23.04, which also supports our cause. In 4 matches he played in Pakistan, he has managed to score just 78 runs at an average of 19.50 with a top score of 23. Let’s not waste time any further, I have already placed the bet, it’s your turn now.