World Cup Betting: Pakistan look solid

Ed Hawkins

Saturday, April 20, 2019 10:05 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019 10:05 PM UTC

Ed Hawkins (@cricketbetting) id disappointed Mohammad Amir is out but not for the reasons you’d think

<p>There was an early blow for World Cup bettors as one of their edges was blunted after Pakistan announced their World Cup squad and didn’t oinclude fast bowler Mohammad Amir.</p><p>Amir, because he has the highest profile of any of the Pakistani bowlers, was always to be found as favourite, or second jolly, in top Pakistan bowler markets in ODI. He deserved no such standing and those who had copped on to that had a terrific run of making hay on his team-mates who had inflated prices.</p><p>Unfortunately, the Pakistan selectors have also cottoned on to the lack of Amir’s wicket-taking threat. Since taking three wickets in Pakistan’s 2017 Champions Trophy win over India in England, Amir has managed only five wickets in 101 overs. It’s an astonishingly bad return.</p><p>And yet there is still hope. For Amir. For us. He has been included in the squad for the warm-up series against <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/cricket/world-cup-betting-hosts-name-squad-and-leave-out-archer/89829/" target="_blank">England</a> next month, meaning a strong show could bring him back in as a late replacement.</p><p>Another pacer to miss out was Usman Shinwari, who had a good record on the top bowler markets. Still, Pakistan have terrific strength in their pace department. Hasan Ali, star of the Champions Trophy, will form a formidable new-ball pair with either Junaid Khan or Shaheen Afridi.</p><p>For that reason they are likely to be well-backed for glory. They are as big as 14/1 (15.0) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c" target="_blank">Betway</a> and they possibly represent the one piece of true value.</p><p>Of course at that price they do have a weakness: poor lower-order hitting. That means they are unlikely to be able to really put their foot down with the bat in the death overs so in a tight chase they are hugely vulnerable.</p><p>There is a lot to like about their top order, though. Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman are good blitzers while Imam-ul-Haq and Haris Sohail are solid. It is a shame that Mohammad Rizwan, who has been excellent as understudy wicketkeeper-batsman to skipper Sarfaraz Khan, does not get a seat on the plane.</p><p>The big three for Pakistan, though, are Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan. This trio of all-rounders will be the difference between another trophy and failure. If two out of the three can just raise their game for the big occasions they should go well.</p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Pakistan squad: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt &amp; wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail</strong></p>
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