The conspiracy theorists will be having a chuckle to themselves that’s for sure. How predictable is it that the T20 series marking the return of international cricket to Pakistan has gone to a decider in the best-of-three series?
Who cares. It gives us another opportunity to bet Pakistan to beat their World XI ‘rivals’ and provide the result that the whole of Pakistan, nay cricketing world, want. This is a celebration of cricket in the region and it would be anti-climactic if the home team did not win.
Most importantly about the tied 1-1 scoreline with Friday’s final act to come, Pakistan have drifted in odds. They were hot favourites before game one but this time the layers can’t seem to make up their minds who should be the jollies.
Bet365, Betfred and Betway have both teams chalked up at -110. Paddy Power are the only firm to take a view making Pakistan slight favourites at -125.
Pakistan probably should have won the second encounter on Wednesday to make this a dead rubber but they lost their way when defending 175. Earlier Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik had impressed with flashing blades.
They looked on course with the World XI rate reaching ten over and more with five to go but Pakistan didn’t count on Thisara Perera, who almost won the game on his own. He struck at a rate of 247 to pull it from the fire. He had also been World XI’s most economical bowler.
Still, we are of the belief that if a team is relying on someone as inconsistent as Perera to get them out of a hole, we’ll take them on. We’re also amazed to see Paul Collingwood, creaking joints and all, being used a bowler and key lower-order batsman.
The World XI have not played the same XI yet and it would be a surprise if they didn’t pick another different team again. That is unquestionably in Pakistan’s favour.
As we said before game one, this means something to Pakistan. It means zilch to the World XI who have just come for the pay day. That absence of ‘loyalty’ to the cause and work ethic in a representative team should ensure the settled and spirited team should be favourites every day of the week.
On the other markets we like Babar at +300 with Bet365 for top-bat honours. A saver is required on Sarfaraz Ahmed at a whopping +900 with Skybet. For the World XI, we’re expecting Tim Paine to be replaced by George Bailey.
That means David Miller, the South African blaster, looks most likely to move up to the No 3 slot. And that promotions suggests the +700 with Skybet needs to be snaffled.