West Indies will take on Ireland in the first of the three T20Is at the National Cricket Stadium, St George's in Grenada on Friday. On the back of a cleansweep in the ODIs, a rejuvenated Windies side will now be looking to put the Irish to the sword yet again, this time in their more favoured format - T20 cricket. The ODIs were pretty crazy, weren’t they? The first and the third match were pretty boring, with the latter being a carbon copy of the former, but phew, the second ODI was genuinely one of the best ODI games witnessed in recent times (Best ODI of the decade, perhaps?). Anyway, let’s hope that the T20Is will be more like the 2nd ODI and less like the 1st and the 3rd. Do we really care, though? Entertainment aside, this tour has already provided truckloads of chances for us to make plenty of cash, and well, if anything, the T20Is will only increase our chances of pocketing more money. And yes, I have my bets ready already - two days in advance.
Oh come on, don’t shoot me. This was always going to be the first bet. You’d have known if you had caught a glimpse of the ODIs. So, Lewis finished the ODI series with scores of 99*, 7 and 102 and crazily enough, he was down on confidence before the series started. Now he’s going to enter his favourite format in devastating form, brimming with confidence. If this doesn’t scare the Irish, then I have no idea what will. First things first, let’s get something straight - T20 is, by some distance, Lewis’ favorite format. He’s scored 833 runs at an average close to 31 with an incredible strike rate of 153, with 2 T20I centuries to his name. And this average of 30.85 increases to 35.33 at home, and further catapults to 68 since the start of 2017. In this format, he is coming on the back of two scores of 40 against India, which he struck at an incredible strike rate of 166.66. Incidentally, he’s never played Ireland in T20 cricket before, but if the ODIs were anything to go by, then boy the Irish bowlers are in for a proper bashing on Friday. Do you even need to think twice to place this bet? The odds are 3.75. Seriously. Go place the bet RIGHT NOW!
I had to pinch myself to actually confirm that this was indeed real. I mean, are you kidding me? 4.50 for Kesrick Williams to be Windies’ top bowler is DAYLIGHT ROBBERY! Let me tell you why. Since Williams’ T20I debut back in September 2016, no pacer has taken more wickets than him in this format. Nope, not even Bumrah or Cummins or Boult. And his ratio of 1.70 wickets per match is as good as it gets. Incredibly, this ratio increases to 2.00 wickets per match at home, with him having scalped 18 wickets in just 9 matches. In the recently concluded T20Is against India, what was a proper graveyard for bowlers, Williams ended the series as the joint-highest wicket-taker, and notably even accounted for the scalp of Virat Kohli. I mean, if you can knock down Kohli, you can basically outfox anyone in the world, right? Williams has also taken four 3-wicket hauls in his last 10 T20Is and with the Irish batsmen having already shown a clear weakness versus pace, I wouldn’t put my money on anyone but Mr. Kesrick to pile misery on the visitors.
I know it’s getting boring by now, and I know I’m touching on the same points over and over again, but then again, I have no other option. I’m tired of singing the praises of the Windies batsmen, but for one last time today, let me do it. They might be not-so-good compared to other batsmen in the world in a lot of aspects, but one area where they’re good at is getting that damn big score. In 2 of their last 3 T20Is, their batsmen posted an individual score over 64.5, and four of their top 5 batsmen boast a highest individual score over 65. But you know what makes this bet even more interesting? Their bowlers’ tendency to leak runs. Yep. The WI bowlers conceded a score of 70 or more FIVE times in their three T20Is against India. In fact, their last T20I alone saw FOUR individual scores of 65 or more. Crazy, right? Ireland, on the other hand, have extremely destructive batsmen too, with four of their top six having a high score over 65, with their openers boasting high scores of 91 and 124; trust me when I say they can bat. In fact, the penultimate CPL match played at this venue even saw a hundred being scored. Need I say more?