Ed Hawkins (@cricketbetting) says everyone’s favourite team could spring a surprise at Trent Bridge.
<div><h2><strong>Australia v West Indies</strong></h2><p><strong>Thursday 10.30</strong></p><p>If there’s one thing cricket fans of all nations can probably agree on it’s this: if their team doesn’t win the World Cup they want West Indies to be the ones who beat them.</p><p>They are the most popular team in the world for the neutral, too, in part because they play an exciting, anarchic brand of cricket, but also because this once proud collection of islands have fallen on hard times. The glory days of yore are their greatest inspiration but also a millstone.</p><p>Cue fervour, then, when the Windies seemed to embrace history and invoke it in their opening match against Pakistan. They hit Pakistani batsmen with a barrage of short-pitched bowling which would have had Messrs Holding, Garner, Roberts, Marshall et al beaming with pride.</p><p>And they could use the tactic again against Australia in what could be a mouthwatering clash. There’s a problem, though. If Windies just rock up and try the same tactic, they will almost certainly get beat. The Aussies like it hard and fast and aggressive.</p><p>A smart approach would be to take the pace off and bowl variations. They are capable of doing that with the likes of Andre Russell and Jason Holder in their ranks. Even smarter would be to drop <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/chris-gayle-cricket-player-profile/89594/" target="_blank">Chris Gayle</a>. It’s a controversial view because he can be so destructive but these days he can barely run. Fast ones and twos make all the difference in ODI and Windies just aren’t capable of them with him at the crease. They don’t rely on his power any more with Nic Pooran, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Russell adept hitters. Evin Lewis could come in and they would still retain potential for destruction from the opener’s slot.</p><p>You’ll spot the plethora of match-winners in that little lot and, at the odds, we’re happy to be with West Indies given their talent at big odds-against. They are as big as 9/5 (2.8) with Betfair and we don’t believe the gulf is that big between the teams. Australia, despite being the holders, are unproven.</p><p>They’ve been on a stinking run for two years and only found their mojo just before the tournament began. Bringing back <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/david-warner-cricket-player-profile/89597/" target="_blank">David Warner</a> and Steve Smith is a bit of a risk in terms of whether they upset the status quo. We may well be wrong about them not being resurgent but we’ll have a gamble here.</p><h2><strong>Best tips for the match</strong></h2><p><strong>West indies 9/5 <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=153&a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6&f=1" target="_blank">Betfair</a></strong></p></div>