Your Exclusive Cricket World Cup Tips

If you’re looking for Cricket World Cup Tips for the 2019 Tournament, bookmark this page. Legitimate pro punters preview every game for the tournament. You’ll find unique stats, exclusive insight, and sharp betting strategies.

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Final – England v New Zealand

July 14, 7:30pm, Lord’s

Match Overview

There will be a first-time winner of the World Cup with either England or New Zealand to lift the trophy at Lord’s on Sunday.

The tournament hosts motored to their first decider since 1992 with a dominant eight-wicket win over fierce rivals Australia. The toss proved a good one to lose for England who bowled exceptionally well up front to have the Aussies 3/14, a position from which they never sufficiently recovered as they were bowled out for 223 with both Chris Woakes (3/20 off eight overs) and Adil Rashid (3/54 off ten overs) putting in their best performances of the competition to date.

Any nerves of chasing a small target were swiftly erased by opener Jason Roy who bludgeoned 85 off just 65 balls before his controversial dismissal allowed the consistent Joe Root (49 not out off 46 balls) and captain Eoin Morgan (45 not out off 39 balls) to manage the rest of the chase with the home side sauntering home in the 33rd over.

On Wednesday New Zealand reached their second successive World Cup final when they shocked India by 18 runs at Edgbaston despite recording a relatively meagre 8/239 batting first largely thanks to middle-order pair Kane Williamson (67 off 95 balls) and Ross Taylor (74 off 90 balls).

A stunning new ball spell from Matt Henry (3/37 off ten overs) had India reeling at 3/5 and though they threatened a famous comeback the Black Caps held their nerve and dismissed the 2011 champions for 221 to wrap up a memorable victory.

England do look short to the naked eye for a final, however it’s hard to build a case for the Kiwis based on current form and the likely conditions, so instead we’ll focus our attention on New Zealand’s skipper who is set to play a significant part in their charge for a maiden title.

Key Stats

  • England have won seven of their last nine ODIs against New Zealand.
  • New Zealand have won only one of their past four ODIs and are yet to pass 300 in this tournament.
  • However England have won only three of their past eight ODIs at Lord’s.
  • Kane Williamson is averaging 102.17 in his last ten ODIs and has top-scored in four of his past seven ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kane Williamson Top New Zealand Batsman at 3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

2nd Semi Final – Australia v England

July 11, 7:30pm, Edgbaston

Match Overview

A place in the finale is at stake when firm foes Australia and England clash on Thursday at Edgbaston in what will be their biggest World Cup encounter since the 1987 final.

The Aussies missed the chance to finish top and avoid the hosts when they stumbled in their final group game against South Africa.

After being asked to field for the first time since their only other loss in this tournament against India, the Australian bowlers failed to find their lengths and watched on as the Proteas amassed 6/325 with Pat Cummins (1/66 off nine overs) uncharacteristically expensive.

A bullocking century to opener David Warner (122 off 117 balls) gave the defending champions every chance of chasing down the sizeable target, however a late-innings collapse of 5/43 saw them fall ten runs short despite a defiant 85 off 69 balls from ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey.

Conversely England tuned up for the final stages with a 119-run win over fellow semi-finalists New Zealand after a blistering knock of 106 off 99 balls from opener Jonny Bairstow elevated them to 8/305 from their 50 overs.

The hosts’ much-maligned bowling attack then took control of the match, skittling the Black Caps for just 186 with zippy quick Mark Wood picking up 3/34 from nine overs.

With Australia beset by injuries and England timing their run to perfection, it’s hard to overlook the claims of the home side who look set to reach their first World Cup final since 1992.

Key Stats

  • Australia have won 15 of their past 17 ODIs but have won only four of their past 11 ODIs when batting second.
  • England have won 12 of their past 15 ODIs at home.
  • Australia have won only one of their past seven ODIs against England.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – England at 1.72 or bigger for 2 units.

1st Semi Final – India v New Zealand

July 9, 7:30pm, Old Trafford

Match Overview

After finishing top of the table India will be looking to take another step towards to a third World Cup by overcoming New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

India rounded off the group stage with a convincing seven wicket win over Sri Lanka at Headingley on Saturday. After losing the toss and being asked to field first, Indian spearhead Jasprit Bumrah (3/37 off ten overs) had Sri Lanka on the back foot early, reducing them to 4/55 before they recovered to post 7/264 from their 50 overs.

Having racked up 180 in their previous match against Bangladesh, Indian openers Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma went to town again, this time combining for 189 as they recorded scores of 111 off 118 balls and 103 off 94 balls respectively, helping India to a comfortable victory inside 44 overs.

On the other hand New Zealand spluttered into the semi-finals, suffering their third straight loss of the tournament against England on Wednesday despite a tight spell from all-rounder Jimmy Neesham (2/41 off ten overs) which helped to restrict the hosts to 8/305 after earlier racing along at 1/194.

The Black Caps failed to take that momentum from the field into their batting as they were bowled out for just 186 with ‘keeper-batsman Tom Latham (57 off 65 balls) compiling his first half-century of the competition.

The Kiwis’ batting unit hasn’t really got going this tournament and whilst you cannot say the same of their opponents, India’s large totals tend not to have involved too many maximums so we’re happy to take on the batsmen clearing the ropes in the first semi-final.

Key Stats

  • India have won six of their past seven ODIs against New Zealand.
  • Seven of New Zealand’s eight matches in this World Cup have featured ten or less sixes.
  • Six out of India’s eight matches in this World Cup have featured ten or less sixes.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Total Sixes 10 and Under at 1.70 or bigger for 1 unit.

India v Sri Lanka

July 6, 7:30pm, Headingley

Match Overview

India will be looking to warm-up for the knockout stages by putting paid to surprise packets Sri Lanka at Headingley on Saturday.

India confirmed their place in the top four with a 28-run win over Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Tuesday. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Lokesh Rahul (77 off 92 balls) and Rohit Sharma (104 off 92 balls) proceeded to put together the highest opening partnership of the tournament, racking up 180 which laid the platform for a total of 9/314.

Bangladesh made a decent fist of the chase, moving to 3/162 in the 30th over, however their innings was sawn off by paceman Jasprit Bumrah (4/55 off ten overs) who rattled the stumps regularly and helped dismiss the Tigers for 286.

Sri Lanka picked up their third win on Monday after a maiden ODI ton from 21-year-old Avishka Fernando (104 off 103 balls) elevated them to a formidable 6/338 against the West Indies at Chester-le-Street. Although the Windies threatened to run down the sizeable target, they were in debt to veteran Lasith Malinga who continued his fine tournament, capturing 3/55 off ten overs as the Calypso Kings were kept to 9/315 at the conclusion of their 50 overs.

Keeper-batsman Kusal Perera has been one of the shining lights for an impressive Sri Lankan side and we think he can finish off his tournament in style here.

Key Stats

  • India have won six of their past seven ODIs.
  • Sri Lanka have won only one of their past eight ODIs against India.
  • Kusal Perera has scored three half-centuries in six innings in this World Cup.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kusal Perera Top Sri Lanka Batsman at 5.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Australia v South Africa

July 6, 10:30pm, Old Trafford

Match Overview

Australia will be hoping to lock in top spot on the ladder by defeating a disappointing South African outfit in the final group stage game at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Aussies kept their strong run of form going with an 86-run victory over likely semi-final opponents New Zealand at Lord’s last Saturday. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia found themselves in a spot of bother at 5/92 before they were bailed out by a 107-run stand between Usman Khawaja (88 off 129 balls) and ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey (71 off 72 balls) which dragged them to a competitive 9/243 from their 50 overs.

The defending champions then stamped their authority with the ball, cleaning the Kiwis up for just 157 with Mitchell Starc claiming an irresistible 5/26 off 9.4 overs.

On Friday South Africa put together their most complete performance of this World Cup, obliterating Sri Lanka by nine wickets after an excellent spell from all-rounder Dwayne Pretorius (3/25 off ten overs) helped to knock the Lankans over for just 203.

Despite losing Quinton de Kock (15 off 16 balls) in the fifth over, experienced pair Hashim Amla (80 off 105 balls) and Faf du Plessis (96 off 103 balls) ensured that the Proteas made light work of the meagre target, breezing home in the 38th over.

Although Australia have it all to play for, South Africa are at their best when the pressure is off and possess the tools to exploit the Aussies’ weaknesses so I fancy the Proteas to trade odds-on at some point.

Key Stats

  • Australia have won only one of their past eight ODIs against South Africa.
  • South Africa have never failed to win at least three games at a World Cup.
  • Australia have won 15 of their past 16 ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK to LAY – South Africa at 3.10 or bigger (trade out at 1.95 or better).

Pakistan v Bangladesh

July 5, 7:30pm, Lord’s

Match Overview

With England’s victory over New Zealand all but scuppering their semi-final hopes, Pakistan will still look to finish the tournament on a high by overcoming a valiant Bangladesh at Lord’s on Friday.

Bangladesh’s own top four aspirations were sunk on Tuesday when they failed to get the better of India at Edgbaston, going down by 28 runs.

Having lost the toss and being asked to field first, things looked pretty dire for the Tigers when India put on 180 for the first wicket, however some excellent bowling at the death from Mustafizur Rahman (5/59 off ten overs) kept them to an attainable 9/314.

As he has done so often throughout the competition, Shakib Al Hasan led the chase with a stylish 66 off 74 balls and although he enjoyed some late-order support from all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin (51 not out off 38 balls) they couldn’t quite do enough with Bangladesh dismissed for 286 off the final ball of the 48th over.

Pakistan’s latest match resulted in a nervy three-wicket win over Afghanistan after another burst of wickets from Shaheen Afridi (4/47 off ten overs) helped to keep the minnows to 9/227 from their 50 overs. Things got a bit tight for Pakistan when they spluttered to 6/156, however wily all-rounder Imad Wasim kept his cool and steered them home with an unbeaten 49 off 54 balls.

With neither side a realistic chance to qualify for the final stages I’m perplexed as to why there’s such a disparity in the market with a formidable Bangladesh side looking great value here.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have won their last four ODIs against Pakistan.
  • Pakistan have won only two of their past 12 ODIs when batting first.
  • Bangladesh have won five of their past eight ODIs when batting second.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bangladesh at 2.70 or better for 1 unit.

Afghanistan v West Indies

July 4, 7:30pm, Headingly

Match Overview

It’s the final chance for Afghanistan to leave the tournament with a win and they may not get a better chance against an unpredictable West Indies outfit at Headingley on Thursday.

On Saturday Afghanistan gave neighbours Pakistan a significant scare before going down by just three wickets at this ground. The Afghans won the toss and elected to bat though as have often been the case throughout this tournament they failed to put together a significant partnership and eventually scrambled to 9/227 off the back of some lusty blows from Asghar Afghan (42 off 35 balls) and Najibullah Zadran (42 off 54 balls).

However a pair of teasing spells from off-spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3/24 off ten overs) and Mohammad Nabi (2/23 off ten overs) reduced Pakistan to 6/156, before they eventually snuck home with just two balls to spare.

The West Indies stammered to a disappointing loss against Sri Lanka on Monday. After sending the Lankans into bat, the Windies were sloppy in the field and leaked an alarming 6/338 with recalled quick Shannon Gabriel (0/46 off five overs) experiencing a particularly torrid time.

The Calypso Kings then slumped to 6/199 in reply before a highly enterprising knock of 118 off 103 balls from powerful left-hander Nicholas Pooran looked to steal the match, however Pooran’s dismissal in the 48th over was the final nail in the coffin with the Windies finishing on 9/315.

Although the West Indies possess superior power and class, motivation could be a key factor in this one and with the Afghans gunning for their first win, while the Windies look disinterested it’s hard not to oppose the favourites here.

Key Stats

  • Afghanistan have won three out of their past four ODIs against the West Indies.
  • West Indies have won only one of their past nine ODIs.
  • Afghanistan have never lost nine consecutive ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – West Indies at 1.30 or better for 1 unit.

England v New Zealand

July 3, 7:30pm, Chester-le-Street

Match Overview

With their World Cup campaign back on track, England will look to finish the group stage with a flurry as they take on a floundering New Zealand side at Durham on Wednesday.

With a top four spot in jeopardy England responded brilliantly under pressure, handing India their first defeat of the tournament at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, the hosts got off to a phenomenal start, courtesy of a 160-run opening stand between Jason Roy (66 off 57 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (111 off 109 balls) before a late assault from in-form all-rounder Ben Stokes (79 off 54 balls) lifted them to an imposing 7/337.

Although India threatened to run down the target at 1/146 in the 29th over, middle overs specialist Liam Plunkett (3/55 off ten overs) put the brakes on and the Indians were eventually kept to 5/306.

Meanwhile New Zealand continued their slide, losing their second consecutive match despite some excellent bowling at either end of the innings from Trent Boult (5/41 off ten overs) which restricted Australia to 9/243 from their 50 overs.

However the Black Caps’ batting unit failed to back up their bowlers, knocked over for just 157 with captain Kane Williamson top-scoring with a stoic 40 off 51 balls. Although batting conditions have generally been favourable at Chester-le-Street which should favour the home side, I believe the odds have moved too far off the back of one good England performance which is why I want to be with the Kiwis to trade shorter in this one.

Key Stats

  • England haven’t beaten New Zealand at a World Cup since 1983.
  • New Zealand have won eight of their past ten ODIs.
  • England have won six of their past seven ODIs at Chester-le-Street.

Betting Strategy

 BACK to LAY – New Zealand at 3.10 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 2.20 or better).

Bangladesh v India

July 2, 7:30pm, Edgbaston

Match Overview

Bangladesh’s faint hopes of a top four finish depend on upsetting India at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

It’s been a long break for Bangladesh with their most recent match taking place last Monday against Afghanistan at the Hampshire Bowl.

After they were sent in by the Afghans, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (51 off 69 balls) maintained his push for player of the tournament, before the equally in-form Mushfiqur Rahim chimed in with a brilliant 83 off 87 balls to elevate the Tigers to 7/262 from their 50 overs.

Not satisfied with his half-century, Shakib took control with the ball, capturing 5/29 off ten overs as Afghanistan were dismissed for an even 200 in 47th over.

On the contrary it’s a short turnaround for India who suffered their first defeat of the competition against England at this ground on Sunday despite another haul from skiddy paceman Mohammad Shami (5/69 off ten overs) keeping the hosts to 7/337 after one stage cruising at 1/205.

Classy opener Rohit Sharma made the most of an early reprieve with a scintillating 102 off 100 balls, however India left themselves too much to do at the back end and finished on 5/306.

Bangladesh have been unceasingly underrated in this tournament so we can’t be backing India at such short odds, yet we do fancy the more attractive odds for them to hit the most sixes in the match.

Key Stats

  • India have won their last four ODIs against Bangladesh.
  • India’s opponents have hit more sixes than them in only two matches at this World Cup.
  • Bangladesh have not hit more sixes than their opponents in any match at this World Cup.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – India Most Sixes at 1.70 or bigger for 1 unit.

Sri Lanka v West Indies

July 1, 7:30pm, Chester-le-Street

Match Overview

With the West Indies now unable to qualify for the semi-finals they will look to play spoil sport against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Monday.

Any hopes the Windies had of finishing in the top four were eradicated when they went down to India by 125 runs at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Although Kemar Roach made the most of new ball, capturing 3/36 off ten overs, they were unable to stop India from reaching 7/268 on a testing Manchester pitch. The West Indies then capitulated with the bat, knocked over for just 143 with new squad addition Sunil Ambris top-scoring with 31 off 40 balls.

Sri Lanka suffered their own humiliating defeat after slumping from 1/67 to 203 all out against South Africa, with five batsman getting to 20 but none passing 30.

Although they defended a low total against England, they couldn’t repeat the dose against the Proteas who sauntered home with nine wickets in hand as veteran quick Suranga Lakmal (0/47 off six overs) came in for particular punishment.

Although they may not have won since their first match of the competition, I expect the Windies to have too much class and firepower for the Lankans here.

Key Stats

  • Sri Lanka have won only three of their past 14 ODIs.
  • West Indies have six batsmen averaging over 30 in this World Cup.
  • Sri Lanka have only three batsmen averaging over 30 in this World Cup.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Indies at 1.50 or bigger for 2 units.

England v India

June 30, 7:30pm, Edgbaston

Match Overview

With the pressure mounting on hosts England, there will be no better way for them to get their World Cup campaign back on track than overcoming new tournament favourites India at Edgbaston on Sunday.

England suffered their third loss of the competition when they went down to defending champions Australia by 64 runs at Lord’s. After winning the toss and sending the Aussies into bat, the home side failed to make the most of helpful conditions early on, though some accurate death bowling from Chris Woakes (2/46 off ten overs) helped to restrict Australia to 7/285 from their 50 overs.

The Three Lions were in trouble early in the chase at 3/26 and though powerful all-rounder Ben Stokes continued his excellent form with a punishing 89 off 115 balls they were eventually bowled out for just 221.

Meanwhile India maintained their record as the only undefeated side in the tournament, seeing off the West Indies by 125 runs after an ominous 72 off 82 balls from captain Virat Kohli in conjunction with a late charge from former skipper MS Dhoni (56 not out off 61 balls) got them to a competitive 7/268 on what was not a straightforward Old Trafford pitch. It was then left to recalled paceman Mohammad Shami who maintained his stellar return to the side by capturing 4/16 off 6.2 overs as the Windies were routed for 143.

With the desperate hosts entertaining the in-form front-runners this one looks too close to call, however the significance of the occasion is only likely to bring out the best in India’s leader who has been quietly going about his business but is set to explode on the big stage.

Key Stats

  • Despite losing three matches in this World Cup England have still won 19 of their past 23 ODIs at home.
  • India have won 11 of their past 12 ODIs away from home.
  • Virat Kohli has scored four straight half-centuries in this World Cup and is averaging 62.67 in his last six ODIs against England.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Virat Kohli Top India Batsman at 3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Afghanistan v Pakistan

June 29, 7:30pm, Headingley

Match Overview

With a semi-final spot well within reach, Pakistan face a tricky battle against cellar-dwellers Afghanistan at Headingley on Saturday.

Pakistan moved within range of a top four spot when they comfortably accounted for New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday. After losing the toss and being asked to field first, Pakistan’s bowlers responded brilliantly, reducing the Black Caps to 5/83 and though they performed somewhat of a rebuilt they could only scamper to 6/237 with 19-year-old quick Shaheen Afridi picking up an outstanding 3/28 off ten overs.

Pakistan’s chase was anchored wonderfully by the precocious Babar Azam who struck a magnificent unbeaten 101 off 127, combining with the in-form Haris Sohail (68 off 76 balls) to guide them home with six wickets in hand.

On Monday Afghanistan went down to Bangladesh by 62 runs despite an excellent spell from awkward off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3/39 off 10 overs) which kept the Tigers to an attainable 7/262.

Captain Gulbadin Naib did his best to lead the chase with 47 off 75 balls, however the Afghans failed to put together a sizeable partnership and were eventually bowled out for 200 with Samiullah Shinwari left stranded on 49 not out off 51 balls.

Although on recent form Pakistan should breeze home. They have a tendency to make things difficult for themselves against the lower-rated sides and with the Headingley pitch playing a touch slow I can foresee the Afghans trading shorter here.

Key Stats

  • Pakistan have still only won three of their past 16 ODIs.
  • Afghanistan have lost their last seven ODIs.
  • Pakistan have won only one of their past eight ODIs when batting second.

Betting Strategy

 LAY to BACK – Pakistan at 1.20 or better for 1 unit (trade out at 1.70 or bigger).

Australia v New Zealand

June 29, 10:30pm, Lord’s

Match Overview

Having secured their place in the top four, defending champions Australia will now take on fellow semi-final aspirants New Zealand at Lord’s on Saturday.

The Aussies put together arguably their most impressive performance on Tuesday when they accounted for England at this ground by 64 runs. After being sent into bat in relatively difficult conditions, openers David Warner (53 off 61 balls) and Aaron Finch toughed it out with Finch going to record a masterful 100 off 116 balls, though another underwhelming finish to the innings left Australia vulnerable at 7/285.

Nevertheless the bowlers used the conditions brilliantly with left-arm pace duo Jason Behrendorff (5/44 off 10 overs) and Mitchell Starc (4/43 off 8.4 overs) running through the hosts to dismiss them for just 221.

New Zealand dropped their first game of the tournament on Wednesday when they went down to Pakistan despite an excellent 132-run stand between all-rounders Jimmy Neesham (97 not out off 112 balls) and Colin de Grandhomme (64 off 71 balls) rescuing the Kiwis from 5/83 to post 6/237 from their 50 overs.

But an exceptional effort in the field from opening batsman Martin Guptill (two catches and a run out) wasn’t enough as the Pakistanis cruised home with six wickets in hand. Whilst Guptill may be flying in the field, the same cannot be said of his efforts with the bat and with Australia adopting a deliberately cautious approach early on, we’re happy to be against runs in the first ten overs.

Key Stats

  • Australia are yet to score 60 or more in the first ten overs in this World Cup.
  • In this World Cup New Zealand have only once scored 60 or more in the first ten overs.
  • In this World Cup both Australia and New Zealand have only once conceded 60 or more in the first ten overs.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – 1st Innings 10 Over Total 60 Runs or more at 1.60 or better for 2 units.

South Africa v Sri Lanka

June 28, 7:30pm, Chester le Street

Match Overview

Whilst prior to the start of the tournament you’d have imagined roles were reversed but it is Sri Lanka still in the hunt for a semi-final place with South Africa having crashed out of the competition as they clash at Chester-le-Street on Friday.

The Proteas’ top four hopes were extinguished on Sunday when they went down to Pakistan at Lord’s by 49 runs. After losing the toss and being asked to field first South Africa failed to take wickets at regular intervals and despite some impressive death bowling from fit-again Lungi Ngidi (3/64 off nine overs) they still conceded a sizeable 7/308.

In reply the Proteas looked well placed at 1/91 in the 20th over with opener Quinton de Kock (47 off 60 balls) and captain Faf du Plessis (63 off 79 balls) at the crease, however a collapse of 5/101 through the middle of the innings saw them stutter and only reach 9/259, confirming their exit from this World Cup.

Sri Lanka caused the upset of the tournament when they saw off England by 20 runs with an unbeaten 85 off 115 balls from former skipper Angelo Mathews allowing them to creep up to 9/232 at the conclusion of their 50 overs.

They may have only had a sparse total to defend but veteran quick Lasith Malinga wound back the clock, claiming 4/43 from his ten overs to stun the hosts who were skittled for 212.

Whilst they may be down on confidence South Africa possess much more quality than their opponents who it must be remembered only snuck past Afghanistan recently so I’ll be backing the Proteas to claim a consolation victory.

Key Stats

  • South Africa have won 16 of their past 18 ODIs against Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka have won only three of their past 13 ODIs.
  • South Africa haven’t lost a World Cup match against Sri Lanka since 1992.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – South Africa at 1.45 or bigger for 2 units.

India v West Indies

June 27, 7:30pm, Old Trafford

Match Overview

Having not tasted victory since their first match of the tournament, West Indies’ top four hopes are pinned on conquering India at Old Trafford on Thursday.

India maintained their unbeaten record on Saturday when they survived a huge scare against competition stragglers Afghanistan.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, captain Virat Kohli looked to take the game away from the Afghans with an aggressive 67 off 63 balls, however the remainder of the Indian top and middle-order couldn’t get going with some late striking from Kedar Jadhav (52 off 68 balls) getting them to a uninspiring 8/224.

When Afghanistan made their way to 2/106 in the 29th over it looked as if another huge upset was on the cards, however recalled paceman Mohammad Shami (4/40 off 9.5 overs) triggered a collapse of 4/23 and the Afghans fell short by just 11 runs.

The West Indies were on the wrong side of a thrilling finish on Saturday, succumbing to New Zealand by only five runs after four wickets and two catches to left-arm swing bowler Sheldon Cottrell (4/56 off ten overs) kept the Black Caps within range at 8/291.

When the Windies slumped to 7/164 in reply it appeared that the match was headed for a swift conclusion, however powerful all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite had other ideas, blasting a preposterous 101 off 82 balls to get the Calypso Kings within touching distance, before he fell to the last ball of the penultimate over with the Windies bowled out for an agonising 286.

Whilst the West Indies have built a reputation for their cavalier batting, it is prudent to remember that they generally start slowly and as such we’ll be backing them to persevere with that initially cautious approach against the accurate Indian bowling attack.

Key Stats

  • India have lost only one of their past six ODIs against the West Indies.
  • In this World Cup the West Indies have scored over six runs in the first over only once, with their last three finishing as maidens.
  • In this World Cup India are yet to concede more than three runs from the first over.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Indies First Over Runs 6 Runs or less at 1.50 or bigger for 3 units.

New Zealand v Pakistan

June 26, 7:30pm, Edgbaston

Match Overview

Pakistan’s semi-final chances will take a severe hit if they can’t overcome an in-form New Zealand outfit at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

New Zealand remained undefeated after edging past the West Indies at Old Trafford on Saturday in an absolute thriller. After being sent into bat the Black Caps made a disastrous start, losing both openers for golden ducks, however skipper Kane Williamson took control with a supreme 148 off 154 balls and with support from Ross Taylor (69 off 95 balls) they lifted the Kiwis to an impressive 8/291.

With left-arm pace ace Trent Boult (4/30 off ten overs) finding some form, New Zealand looked home with the Windies struggling at 7/164, however they made an incredible late rally and only fell six runs short with Boult completing a catch on the boundary to seal the match for the Black Caps.

On Sunday, Pakistan muscled their way past South Africa after half-centuries to Babar Azam (69 off 80 balls) and Haris Sohail (89 off 59 balls) elevated them to 7/308 from their 50 overs. The Proteas made a strong start to the chase, racing to 1/91 in the 20th over before leg-spinner Shadab Khan (3/50 off ten overs) put his stamp on the middle overs, which allowed Wahab Riaz (3/46 off ten overs) to clean up the tail and keep South Africa to 9/259, securing a 49-run win for the Pakistanis.

Whilst I’m not willing to bet against Pakistan getting the better of New Zealand and inflicting their first defeat of the tournament, it is difficult to see them dislodging the Kiwis’ skipper who is in rare touch, even by his own high standards.

Key Stats

  • New Zealand have now won their last eight ODIs.
  • Pakistan have scored over 300 in six of their past ten ODIs.
  • Kane Williamson has top-scored in his last three ODIs and is averaging 293 in his last six ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kane Williamson Top New Zealand Batsman at 3.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

England v Australia

June 25, 7:30pm, Lord’s

Match Overview

It doesn’t get much bigger than this with tournament favourites and hosts England going head-to-head with defending champions Australia at Lord’s on Tuesday.

England were left stunned in their last match, going down to lowly Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday by 20 runs. Everything went to plan to begin with for the Three Lions, sending Sri Lanka into bat and keeping them to a meagre 9/232 with zippy seamer Mark Wood picking up 3/40 from eight overs.

However England’s much-vaunted batting line-up failed to fire in reply, with an unbeaten 82 off 89 balls from all-rounder Ben Stokes not enough to get them over the line as they were bowled out for 212 to complete the biggest shock of the competition thus far.

Australia managed to stave off their own upset with an incredible 166 off 147 balls from belligerent opener David Warner and a typically classy 89 off 72 deliveries from left-hander Usman Khawaja powering them to a commanding 5/381 against Bangladesh on Thursday.

However, Australia’s bowlers didn’t have it their own way with the Tigers finding the boundary with ease, although an incisive contribution from spearhead Mitchell Starc (2/55 off ten overs) helped to keep the chase at arm’s length and the Bangladeshi’s were eventually kept to 8/333 from their 50 overs.

Given England’s recent efforts I can’t be backing them as clear favourites, though Australia themselves have enduring issues with their bowling attack so we will put our trust in the home side to clear the pickets more frequently than their guests.

Key Stats

  • England have hit more sixes than their opponents in three of their last four ODIs.
  • Australia have hit more sixes than their opponents in only two of their past six ODIs.
  • In six matches in this World Cup England have hit 52 sixes and conceded 29 sixes, while Australia have hit 35 sixes and conceded 34 sixes.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – England Most Sixes at 1.74 or bigger for 2 units.

Afghanistan v Bangladesh

June 24, 7:30pm, Hampshire Bowl

Match Overview

After a heartbreaking loss to heavyweights India, Afghanistan will be hoping to open their 2019 World Cup account against Bangladesh on Monday.

The Afghans threatened one of the greatest World Cup upsets of all time on Saturday when they pushed India all the way before falling short by just 11 runs. Having lost of the toss and being asked to field first, the competition minnows weren’t overawed by India’s imposing batting line-up with an excellent spell from wily all-rounder Mohammad Nabi (2/33 off nine overs) among the highlights as they restricted the Indians to a mediocre 8/224 from their 50 overs.

Afghanistan were right in the game at 2/106 in the 29th over and although they lost 3/24 in quick time, Nabi did his best to influence the match with the bat, spanking 52 of 55 balls. However, another late collapse of 4/23 saw the Afghans bowled out for an agonising 213.

Meanwhile Bangladesh remained marooned in the middle of the table after they conceded an alarming 5/381 against Australia with experienced seamer Rubel Hossain (0-83 off nine overs) enduring a particularly torrid time.

A magnificent unbeaten century to ‘keeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (102 not out off 97 balls) steered the Tigers’ chase but they could never quite get the required run rate within reach and eventually finished on 8/333 at the conclusion of their 50 overs.

Given Afghanistan’s effort against India, Bangladesh look too short to back here but they do appear to hold a distinct advantage in the batting department, particularly up top which is where we will focus our attention.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have won four of their last six ODIs against Afghanistan.
  • Bangladesh’s average score after ten overs in this World Cup is 1/57.
  • Afghanistan’s average score after ten overs in this World Cup is 1/45.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bangladesh Highest 10 Over Total at 1.60 or bigger for 1 unit.

Pakistan v South Africa

June 23, 7:30pm, Lord’s

Match Overview

Despite both sides sitting above only Afghanistan on the points table there is plenty to get excited about when Pakistan take on South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday.

Pakistan’s semi-final hopes took a hit when they were overwhelmed by neighbours India at Old Trafford last Sunday. After captain Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to field, spearhead Mohammad Amir produced a testing spell to finish with 3/47 off ten overs, however he lacked any support as the Indians racked up an impressive 5/336 from their 50 overs.

Chasing a revised target of 302 from 40 overs, opener Fakhar Zaman added to his excellent record against India with 62 off 75 balls, however it was not nearly enough with the Pakistanis falling short by 89 runs.

On Wednesday South Africa continued their frustrating tournament, edged out by New Zealand despite an unbeaten 67 off 64 balls from middle-order powerhouse Rassie van der Dussen lifting them to a competitive 6/241 from 49 overs.

In a topsy-turvy chase, seam bowling all-rounder Chris Morris (3/49 off ten overs) pushed the Black Caps all the way but the Kiwis ultimately prevailed with four wickets in hand and just three balls remaining.

Whilst the Proteas have gradually improved, they look down on confidence, while Pakistan showed against England that they are capable of mixing it with the very best and with a more realistic chance of reaching the top four they look good value as underdogs here.

Key Stats

  • Pakistan have won six of their past ten ODIs against South Africa.
  • South Africa have won only one of their past five ODIs.
  • Pakistan have won three of their past four matches at Lord’s across all formats.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Pakistan at 2.30 or bigger for 1 unit.

India v Afghanistan

June 22, 7:30pm, Hampshire Bowl

Match Overview

The giants of world cricket face off against the competition minnows when India tackle Afghanistan at the Hampshire Bowl on Saturday.

It doesn’t get any easier for Afghanistan after they were slaughtered by 150 runs at the hands of tournament favourites England on Tuesday. Having been asked to field first, off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (0/44 off ten overs) and captain Gulbadin Naib (3/68 off ten overs) kept things relatively tight early on, however the Three Lions exploded at the death, creaming 142 off the final 10 overs to amass 6/397 with star leg-spinner Rashid Khan (0/110 off nine overs) continuing his unhappy campaign.

In reply a second World Cup half-century to classy left-hander Hashmatullah Shahidi (76 off 100 balls) was a rare highlight as the Afghans reached 8/247 at the conclusion of their 50 overs.

India remained unbeaten with a thumping 89-run win over fierce rivals Pakistan with opener Rohit Sharma’s sensational 140 off just 113 balls underpinning their hefty first innings score of 5/336.

Despite losing paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar to a hamstring strain in the fifth over, the 2011 champions were never really troubled with all-rounder Vijay Shankar (2/22 off 5.2 overs) and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav (2/32 off nine overs) the best of the bowlers as they kept Pakistan to 6/212 off 40 overs in a rain-affected second innings. With Rohit in supreme touch, we see no reason why his incredible run of scores won’t continue on Saturday.

Key Stats

  • India’s last ODI against Afghanistan resulted in a tie.
  • Rohit Sharma has top-scored in three of his past four ODIs.
  • In his past five ODIs, Rohit Sharma is averaging 117.50 at a strike-rate of 92.52.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Back Rohit Sharma Top India Batsman at 3.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

New Zealand v West Indies

June 22, 10:30pm, Old Trafford

Match Overview

Any top four aspirations for the West Indies will be out the window if they can’t get the better of New Zealand at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Black Caps kept up their unbeaten streak with a tense four-wicket win over South Africa at Edgbaston on Wednesday. After winning an important toss and sending the Proteas into bat, express paceman Lockie Ferguson (3/59 off ten overs) produced the goods to keep South Africa to 6/241 from 49 overs. The Kiwis failed to stamp their authority on the chase early and looked in a spot on bother at 5/137 in the 33rd over, however skipper Kane Williamson kept his cool with a magical unbeaten 106 off 137 which steered New Zealand home with just three balls to spare.

The West Indies continued their slide, beaten soundly by Bangladesh on Monday despite half-centuries to talented trio Shai Hope (96 off 121 balls), Evin Lewis (70 off 67 balls) and Shimron Hetmyer (50 off 26 balls) lifting them to a strong 8/321 from their 50 overs. However the Windies were poor in the field, with none of their bowlers conceding less than 6.5 runs an over as Bangladesh stormed home with seven wickets in hand and 51 balls remaining. Whilst the Windies were average against the Tigers they do have the firepower to trouble New Zealand who were flattered by South Africa’s poor fielding, so I feel that the Calypso Kings can get the business done here and regularly clear the ropes in the process.

Key Stats

  • Outside of New Zealand, the Black Caps have won only one of their past five ODIs against the West Indies
  • No side has hit more sixes than the West Indies in any of their matches in this World Cup
  • Although unbeaten, New Zealand has hit more sixes than their opponents in only two out of four matches in this World Cup.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Indies at 2.44 or bigger for 1 unit

 BACK – West Indies Most Sixes at 1.60 or bigger for 2 units.

England v Sri Lanka

June 21, 7:30pm, Headingley

Match Overview

After bullying minnows Afghanistan into submission, England will take aim at another lowly-rated side when they clash with Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday.

On Tuesday England sent out a warning to the rest of the competition with a thumping 150-run win against the Afghans at Old Trafford. After winning the toss and electing to bat, the hosts started steadily with half-centuries to Jonny Bairstow (90 off 99 balls) and Joe Root (88 off 82 balls) before captain Eoin Morgan went ballistic, thumping 148 off just 71 balls including a record 17 sixes to elevate England to 6/397, scoring 198 in the final 15 overs.

Afghanistan never stood a chance of running down such a gigantic total and so they finished their 50 overs on 8/247 with athletic quick Jofra Archer (3/52 off ten overs) continuing to impress.

Sri Lanka’s latest match resulted in a 87-run loss to Australia but not before left-arm seamer Isuru Udana (2/57 off ten overs) and all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva (2/40 off eight overs) put the skids on the defending champions’ batting as they slipped from 3/278 to 7/334.

When openers Dimuth Karunaratne (97 off 108 balls) and Kusal Perera (52 off 36 balls) smashed 112 off the first 15 overs it looked as if the Lankans may cause the boilover of the tournament, however they soon ran out of puff and were bowled out for 247.

With England prohibitively short, the contrasting approaches adopted by each side to the start of their innings presents us with a nice opportunity in the Highest 10 Over Total market.

Key Stats

  • England have lost only one of their past eight ODIs against Sri Lanka.
  • England have outscored their opponents in the first 10 overs in only two of their past four ODIs.
  • Sri Lanka have outscored their opponents in the first 10 overs in three of their past four ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK to LAY – Sri Lanka if batting first. Look to Lay in first 10 0vers.

Australia v Bangladesh

June 20, 7:30pm, Trent Bridge

Match Overview

Sitting comfortably in the top four, reigning champions Australia face a tricky challenge against an emerging Bangladesh side at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

The Aussies recorded their third win with an 87-run victory over Sri Lanka at The Oval on Saturday, though they didn’t have it all their own way.

After an unusually sedate start, captain Aaron Finch broke free with a rousing 153 off 132 balls and with support from Steve Smith (73 off 59 balls) and Glenn Maxwell (46 not out off 25 balls) it looked as if they were headed for a significant score before suffering familiar issues in the final overs, losing 3/10 to finish on 7/334.

When the Sri Lankan openers raced to 115 without loss in just the 16th over, it looked as if Australia may live to regret the runs they left out on the field, but they were saved by left-arm ace Mitchell Starc who collected 4/55 off his ten overs and triggered a collapse that saw the Lankans bowled out for 247.

On Monday Bangladesh kept their semi-final hopes alive with a stunning seven-wicket defeat of the West Indies at Taunton as three wickets to left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman (3/59 off nine overs) kept the Windies to an achievable 8/321.

When the Tigers reached 3/133 after 19 overs the game was in the balance, however an incredible partnership of 189 off 135 balls between player of the tournament thus far Shakib Al Hasan (124 not out off 99 balls) and stroke-maker Litton Das (94 not out off 69 balls) steered Bangladesh home without the loss of another wicket in the 42nd over.

With Bangladesh on a high after their dominant performance at Taunton and Australia grappling with issues around how they close out the innings with the bat and their bowling attack outside of Starc and Pat Cummins, I believe the defending champions are the lay of the tournament here and would be shocked if the underdogs don’t trade significantly shorter.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have won six of their past eight ODIs.
  • Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have taken 59% of Australia’s wickets at this World Cup and are the only two bowlers to be conceding less than six runs an over.
  • Bangladesh have six batsmen with a strike-rate over 100 at this World Cup, while Australia have only four.

Betting Strategy

 LAY to BACK – Australia at 1.25 or better for 3 units (trade out at 1.80 or bigger).

New Zealand v South Africa

June 19, 7:30pm, Edgbaston

Match Overview

New Zealand will be looking to take a giant step towards a semi-final berth by overcoming an embattled South African side at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

The Kiwis were unable to face up to their greatest challenge thus far when their match against India at Trent Bridge last Thursday was washed out with the players unable to take the field at any stage. The Black Caps have started the tournament brightly with three wins, albeit against some of the lower-rated sides, but the manner of their victories has certainly been comprehensive, giving them the competition’s highest net run rate.

Another pleasing aspect for New Zealand is that in the absence of veteran bowler Tim Southee and regular opener Henry Nicholls, their replacements have stepped up with Matt Henry averaging 18 with the ball, while Colin Munro has averaged 52 with the bat.

On the other hand, South Africa have endured a difficult start to the World Cup, failing to register a win in their first four matches though they did get off the mark against Afghanistan on Saturday whom they knocked over for just 125 thanks to a mesmerizing spell from leg-spinner Imran Tahir (4/29 off seven overs).

With opener Quinton de Kock stroking a punchy 68 off 72 balls, the Proteas had no issues with the meagre target, losing only one wicket and cruising home in the 29th over. For all of the Black Caps’ success this tournament they are yet to be truly tested and with South Africa finally feeling settled after a raft of injuries, I think they look over the odds here.

Key Stats

  • New Zealand have won their last six ODIs.
  • However New Zealand have won only two of their past six ODIs against South Africa.
  • South Africa have won seven of their past ten ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – South Africa at 2.10 or bigger for 1 unit.

England v Afghanistan

June 18, 7:30pm, Old Trafford

Match Overview

What shapes as the biggest mismatch of the tournament will take place on Tuesday when competition favourites England host struggling minnows Afghanistan.

The Afghans remained moored to the bottom of the table after they were brushed aside by South Africa at Cardiff on Saturday. Having been sent in under cloudy skies, Afghanistan started promisingly enough with an opening stand of 39 before they lost an alarming 7/38 and needed some lusty blows from Rashid Khan (35 off 25 balls) to get them up to a still-paltry 125.

Unfortunately Rashid’s form with the bat did not carry over to his bowling as he conceded an uncharacteristically expensive 45 from his seven overs with the Proteas strolling home in the 29th over for the loss of only one wicket.

England were on the correct side of a similarly comfortable win as three wickets each to pacey pair Jofra Archer (3/30 off nine overs) and Mark Wood (3/18 off 6.4 overs) helped to knock the dangerous West Indies over for just 212.

With regular opener Jason Roy tweaking his hamstring in the field, test captain Joe Root was elevated to the top of the order and made the most his chance with a classy unbeaten 100 off just 94 balls to see the Three Lions home with eight wickets in hand and more than 16 overs remaining.

Whilst I’m generally hesitant to back such short odds and I am wary that England have been involved in some of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, there’s no denying that Afghanistan have looked a mess, whilst the hosts have generally been comfortable so for me their price is better than bank interest.

Key Stats

  • England have won nine of their past 10 ODIs.
  • England have won 18 of their past 20 ODIs at home.
  • Afghanistan have been bowled out for under 210 in four of their past five ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Back England at 1.05 or bigger for 10 units.

Bangladesh v West Indies

June 17, 7:30pm, County Ground Taunton

Match Overview

With their respective top four chances starting to slip away, both Bangladesh and the West Indies will be eager to get back on track with a win at Taunton on Monday.

Bangladesh missed the chance to pick up just their second win of the tournament when their latest encounter against Sri Lanka at Bristol was abandoned without a ball being bowled. However the extra time between matches should work in the favour of star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who strained a thigh muscle during the Tigers loss to England at Cardiff over two weeks ago, with team management confident he will be fit to take his place against the Windies.

Although even if Shakib does line up in the starting XI, Bangladesh will want to shake off their reliance on him with only one other batsman registering a half-century in the tournament thus far, while there is also only one Bangladeshi bowler who has proved more economical in this year’s competition.

Meanwhile the West Indies are also marooned on three points after they were comfortably outpointed by England with the hosts knocking the Windies over for just 212 despite a mature innings from left-hander Nicholas Pooran who compiled 63 off 78 balls. The Calypso Kings stood no chance of defending such a meagre target against the might of the English batting unit and so they succumbed by eight wickets with Oshane Thomas (0/43 off six overs) proving particularly expensive. Whilst they have generally impressed the West Indies are still a very inconsistent side and do not match up well with the steady and well-balanced Bangladeshis who look a big old price here.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have won five of their past seven ODIs.
  • West Indies have won only one of their past five ODIs.
  • Bangladesh have won six of their past seven ODIs against the West Indies.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bangladesh at 2.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

India v Pakistan

June 16, 7:30pm, Old Trafford

Match Overview

One of the most highly-anticipated clashes of the tournament will take place at Old Trafford on Sunday when fierce foes India and Pakistan write another chapter into their storied rivalry.

India remain unbeaten though their latest match against New Zealand became the fourth to be scuppered by the weather and the third to be abandoned without a ball bowled thanks to continual showers in Nottingham.

Prior to that match they did suffer a blow with dangerous opener Shikhar Dhawan ruled out for up to two weeks with a thumb injury after being struck by Australian paceman Pat Cummins during his sublime 117 off 109 balls against the defending champions. The equally destructive Rishabh Pant has been placed on standby but either Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar are likely to be drafted into the starting XI with Lokesh Rahul elevated to opener.

Pakistan continued their undulating tournament with a pulsating 41-run loss to Australia after a brilliant spell from left-arm quick Mohammad Amir (5/30 off ten overs) restricted the Aussies to 307 despite having been 2/223 in the 34th over.

A half-century to opener Imam ul-Haq (53 off 75 balls) steered Pakistan to 2/136 in reply before they lost 4/24, only for some late hitting from Hasan Ali (32 off 15 balls) and Wahab Riaz (45 off 39 balls) to revive their hopes, but ultimately it came down to another collapse with the Pakistanis losing their last three wickets for just two runs to be bowled out for 266 in the 46th over.

Given that Pakistan troubled Australia who are rated very similarly to India we think they can do some damage here, however, there are serious question marks over their ability to get over the line, especially against their ferocious rivals who boast a strong record against them.

Key Stats

  • India have won only two of their past five ODIs.
  • Pakistan have scored over 290 in six of their past eight ODIs in England.
  • India have won six of their past eight ODIs against Pakistan.

Betting Strategy

 BACK to LAY – Pakistan at 3.20 or bigger (trade out at 2.10 or better).

Australia v Sri Lanka

June 15, 7:30pm, The Oval

Match Overview

Fresh from an uneasy victory against Pakistan, Australia will be looking to continue their winning form against a frustrated Sri Lankan side at The Oval on Saturday.

The Aussies recorded a 41-run win over a typically unpredictable Pakistan outfit though the margin of victory belied the flow of the game with the defending champions surviving a couple of scares along the way.

Having been sent into bat Australia could barely have dreamed of a better start with openers David Warner (107 off 111 balls) and Aaron Finch (82 off 84 balls) putting on 146 for the first wicket and seemingly setting them up for a total in excess of 350, however the innings came to a sudden halt as they lost 6/30 to be bowled out for a middling 307.

At 2/126 after 25 overs and then later 7/264 in the 45th over, Pakistan threatened to pull off another upset but the calm head of Pat Cummins prevailed with the energetic quick picking up 3/33 off ten overs which helped knock the Pakistanis over for 266.

Sri Lanka have found it difficult to get on the field, with their last two scheduled matches against sub-continental rivals Pakistan and Bangladesh both abandoned without a ball being bowled thanks to inclement weather in Bristol.

Prior to that the Lankans edged Afghanistan largely due to an inspired spell from skiddy pace bowler Nuwan Pradeep (4/31 off nine overs), however Pradeep is in serious doubt for this match after injuring his bowling hand at training which could result in a recall for all-rounder Jeevan Mendis.

It’s hard to back the reigning champions at such a short price given their performances thus far but nor can we be with Sri Lanka given they are potentially missing one of their most potent bowlers, however some surprising statistics lead to a big-priced interest in the most sixes market.

Key Stats

  • Australia have won 11 of their past 12 ODIs.
  • However Australia’s opponents have hit more sixes than them in their last four ODIs.
  • Sri Lanka have hit more sixes than the opposition in nine of their past 15 ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sri Lanka Most Sixes at 3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Afghanistan v South Africa

June 16, 7:30pm, Cardiff Wales Stadium

Match Overview

With both sides still yet to record a victory at this tournament, both Afghanistan and South Africa will be desperate to get off the mark when they clash in Cardiff on Saturday.

Afghanistan slipped to their third straight defeat when they were easily accounted for by New Zealand at Taunton last Saturday.

After being sent into bat, openers Hazratullah Zazai (34 off 28 balls) and Noor Ali Zadran (31 off 38 balls) made a promising start before the Afghans lost 4/4 and while middle-order mainstay Hashmatullah Shahidi tried his best to hold the innings together with a patient 59 off 99 balls, the Afghans suffered another collapse of 4/42 at the back end to be bowled out for just 172.

Opening bowler Aftab Alam got the crowd excited with a scalp from the first ball of the chase and he proceeded to take all three Kiwi wickets to fall, finishing with 3/45 off 8.1 overs, however the Black Caps strolled home with the best part of 18 overs remaining.

South Africa’s latest attempt to claim their first win of this World Cup was thwarted by the Southampton weather, though they were perhaps lucky that the rain did intervene as they had stumbled to 2/29 halfway through the eighth over before the showers arrived.

The Proteas’ campaign has been beset by injury with veteran spearhead Dale Steyn ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury, while fellow quick Lungi Ngidi has missed the last two matches with a hamstring complaint, though he should be fit to face the Afghans.

Whilst the South African’s bowling attack is depleted, their batting unit has remained largely intact and is underpinned by opener Quinton de Kock who is averaging a tick under 40 this tournament and should fancy his chances of a big score in this one.

Key Stats

  • Both sides have lost their last three ODIs.
  • Quinton de Kock has top scored in five of his past eight ODIs.
  • Openers have top scored against Afghanistan is four of their past five ODIs

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Quinton de Kock Top South Africa Batsman at 3.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

England v West Indies

June 14, 7:30pm, Hampshire Bowl

Match Overview

Two of the most destructive batting units in the competition will go head-to-head on Friday when England entertain the West Indies at the Hampshire Bowl.

The hosts got back to winning ways last Saturday when they overwhelmed Bangladesh at Cardiff by 106 runs.

Having been sent into bat, damaging opener Jason Roy led from the front with a ruinous 153 off 121 balls, including 14 fours and five sixes, which was ably supported by half-centuries to Jonny Bairstow (51 off 50 balls) and Jos Buttler (64 off 44 balls), allowing England to rack up a monumental 6/386 from their 50 overs.

Although Bangladesh fought hard, pacey seamer Jofra Archer showed his class, picking up 3/29 off 8.5 overs as the Tigers were bowled out for 280 in the 49th over.

The West Indies most recent match was abandoned after only 7.3 overs due to wet weather but they still managed to make an impression, reducing South Africa to 2/29 with both wickets claimed by left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell (2/18 off four overs).

In a further boost for the Windies, top-order batsman Evin Lewis and muscular all-rounder Andre Russell are set to return to the starting XI after both players were left out for the match against the Proteas.

This is clearly a match in which you want to be with the batsmen so look to be with both sides when batting, but as a pre-match wager I’ll be backing the ball to the clear the ropes at a regular rate.

Key Stats

  • There have been 15 or more sixes in four out of England’s past seven ODIs.
  • There have been 15 or more sixes in three of the last four ODIs between England and the West Indies.
  • This match features four of the top five six hitters in ODIs this year.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Total Sixes 15 and Over at 1.70 or bigger for 3 units.

India v New Zealand

June 13, 7:30pm, Trent Bridge

Match Overview

The last two remaining unbeaten sides will face off on Thursday when New Zealand confront India at Trent Bridge.

India made it two from two with an impressive 36-run victory over reigning champions Australia at The Oval on Sunday. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Indians initially adopted a patient approach but it worked in their favour as opening pair Shikhar Dhawan (117 off 109 balls) and Rohit Sharma (57 off 70 balls) put on 127 for the first wicket which allowed the likes of Virat Kohli (82 off 77 balls) and Hardik Pandya (48 off 27 balls) to hit out at the death, driving them to a substantial 5/352.

Three wickets each to new ball pair Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/50 off 10 overs) and Jasprit Bumrah (3/61 off 10 overs) kept the Aussies on the back foot throughout the chase and they were eventually bowled for 316.

New Zealand remained on top of the table with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Afghanistan at Taunton on Saturday, with career-best figures to all-rounder Jimmy Neesham (5/31 off 10 overs) helping to knock the Afghans over for just 172.

There was some brief panic for the Black Caps when opener Martin Guptill was dismissed from the first ball of the chase, however, as he does so often, skipper Kane Williamson steadied the ship with an unbeaten 79 off 99 balls, steering the Kiwis home in the 33rd over.

New Zealand may have three wins but they have come against the three lowest-rated sides, whilst India have looked impressive in beating the defending champions and an admittedly undermanned South African outfit so we’re expecting the favourites to hand the Black Caps a rather severe reality check in this one.

Key Stats

  • India have won ten of their past 14 ODIs.
  • New Zealand haven’t won four consecutive ODIs in England since 2013.
  • India have won six of their past seven ODIs against New Zealand.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – India at 1.45 or better for 2 units.

Australia v Pakistan

June 12, 7:30pm, County Ground Taunton

Match Overview

After going down to India on Sunday, Australia will be looking to bounce back swiftly against their fierce rivals Pakistan at Taunton on Wednesday.

The Aussies slipped to their first defeat of the tournament at The Oval with India getting the better of them by 36 runs.

After losing the toss and being asked to field first, the defending champions were up against it early, conceding an opening partnership of 127 and from there they never really recovered with the Indians compiling a sizeable 5/352 from their 50 overs as leg-spinner Adam Zampa (0/50 off six overs) struggled for control.

Half-centuries to restored pair David Warner (56 off 84 balls) and Steve Smith (69 off 70 balls) built a platform from which Australia could launch but ultimately they left themselves with too much to do and were eventually bowled out for 316 despite a late assault from ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey (55 not out off 35 balls).

Pakistan’s most recent encounter against Sri Lanka at Bristol was washed out before the players could get on the field for one ball, a match in which they would have started healthy favourites, though not that that situation frequently favours them.

Prior to that they did little to shake off their schizophrenic reputation, fighting back from annihilation against the West Indies to outgun tournament favourites England in arguably the biggest upset of the tournament thus far.

With their tails up, Pakistan can be a tricky proposition and given Australia’s unconvincing returns at the tournament thus far I believe the underdogs represent good value here, though bearing in mind the recent head-to-head statistics between these two I will look to trade out for a profit.

Key Stats

  • Australia have won only two of their past nine ODIs in England.
  • Pakistan have won six of their past 12 ODIs in England.
  • Australia have won 14 of their last 15 ODIs against Pakistan.

Betting Strategy

 BACK to LAY – Pakistan at 3.10 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 2.00 or better).

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

June 11, 7:30pm, Bristol County Ground

Match Overview

With only one win apiece, both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be looking to keep their semi-final hopes alive when they take on each other at Bristol on Tuesday.

Bangladesh slipped to their second consecutive defeat after they were out-muscled by England at Cardiff on Saturday. The Tigers won the toss and sent England into bat only to see the hosts rack up a formidable 8/386 from their 50 overs with off-spinner Mehedy Hasan Miraz (2/67 off ten overs) the best of the Bangladeshi bowlers, despite conceding three successive sixes at one stage.

Although Bangladesh never looked likely to chase down the mammoth target, they did give a solid account of themselves, bowled out for 280 with star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan continuing his stellar from with a sublime 121 off 119 balls.

Sri Lanka missed the chance to record their second victory of the tournament on Friday when their match against Pakistan at this ground was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Previous to that they had edged out Afghanistan having been obliterated by New Zealand first up, so they will need to find plenty of improvement, particularly in the batting department where thus far they have been propped up by openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera.

However it’s hard to argue against the fact that Bangladesh look the more talented, experienced and balanced side here so I’ll be backing the Tigers to chalk up their second win of the competition.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have won five of their past seven ODIs.
  • Sri Lanka have won only two of their past 11 ODIs.
  • Bangladesh have five players with over 175 ODI appearances in their squad, while Sri Lanka have only one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bangladesh at 1.66 or better for 2 units.

South Africa v West Indies

June 10, 7:30pm, Hampshire Bowl

Match Overview

Desperate for their first win of the tournament, South Africa must simply find a way to overcome a dangerous West Indies outfit at Hampshire on Monday if they are to keep their faint semi-final hopes alive.

The Proteas slumped to their third successive loss at this ground on Wednesday, outgunned by India to the tune of six wickets. After winning the toss and electing to bat first South Africa never really got going, staggering to 9/227 from their 50 overs which they only reached thanks to a some lower-order contributions from Chris Morris (42 off 34 balls), Andile Phehlukwayo (34 off 61 balls) and Kagiso Rabada (31 not out off 35 balls). Rabada then picked up a tidy 2/39 from his ten overs with the ball but it had minimal impact as India breezed home in the 48th over for the loss of only four wickets.

West Indies missed an opportunity to stay on top of the table as they allowed Australia to recover from 5/79 to post 288 with all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite claiming 3/67 from his ten overs. Half-centuries to keeper-batsman Shai Hope (68 off 105 balls) and skipper Jason Holder (51 off 57 balls) put the Windies on the front foot during the chase before they lost 4/40 towards the back end of the innings to end up on 9/273, falling short by 15 runs.

Whilst they mightn’t have won, the Calypso Kings pushed the defending champions all the way and with the Proteas down on confidence after three straight defeats and with an injury crisis gripping their bowling attack, I think the West Indies represent good value here at odds-against.

Key Stats

  • South Africa have only one top-order batsman averaging over 35 and no top-order batsmen with a strike-rate over 100 in the tournament.
  • West Indies have four top-order batsman averaging over 35 and two top-order batsmen with a strike-rate over 100 in the tournament.
  • South Africa have no bowlers averaging under 30 in this tournament, while West Indies have three.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Indies at 2.02 or bigger for 2 units.

Australia v India

June 9, 7:30pm, The Oval

Match Overview

The stage is set for one of the biggest clashes of this World Cup with heavyweights Australia and India doing battle at The Oval on Sunday.

Australia performed a series of rescue missions to overcome the West Indies at Trent Bridge on Thursday, eventually claiming victory by 15 runs. Having been sent into bat the Aussies made a disastrous start, slumping to 5/79, however a steady 73 off 103 balls to Steve Smith in conjunction with a punchy 45 off 55 from ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey and an astounding knock of 92 off just 60 balls from lower-order hitter Nathan Coulter-Nile lifted the defending champions to a defendable 288. At various points in the chase the Windies looked on top, none more so than when 3/149 in the 28th over, however a timely return to form from spearhead Mitchell Starc (5/46 off ten overs) helped to keep them to 9/273 and catapult Australia to victory.

India made a strong start to their World Cup campaign on Wednesday, restricting South Africa to 9/227 with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal destroying the Proteas middle-order on the way to figures of 4/51 off ten overs. The chase was then expertly anchored by opener Rohit Sharma, who finished unbeaten on 122 off 144 balls including 13 fours and two sixes as the 2011 champions ran down the target in the 48th over with seven wickets in hand. India’s captain Virat Kohli missed out against South Africa, dismissed for just 18, however he tends to rise to the big occasion so we’re happy to be with him in this momentous clash.

Key Stats

  • Australia have now won their last ten ODIs.
  • India have won nine of their last 13 ODIs.
  • Virat Kohli is averaging 85.32 from his last 30 ODI innings has top-scored in two of his past five ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Virat Kohli Top India Batsman at 3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

England v Bangladesh

June 8, 7:30pm, Cardiff Wales Stadium

Match Overview

Having suffered narrow defeats in their previous fixtures, both England and Bangladesh will be looking to bounce back with a win at the Cardiff Wales Stadium on Saturday.

The tournament hosts and favourites were brought crashing back down to earth when they were overwhelmed by Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Monday. After sending the Pakistanis into bat, England were sloppy with the ball and in the field, conceding a considerable 8/348 despite a tight spell from all-rounder Moeen Ali (3/50 off ten overs).

In reply the Three Lions started poorly, slumping to 4/118 before twin tons to Joe Root (107 off 104 balls) and Jos Buttler (103 off 76 balls) gave them the ascendency, however they lost 4/34 towards the back end of the innings and could only reach 9/334 at the conclusion of their 50 overs, falling 14 runs short.

Bangladesh were on the wrong end of a two-wicket margin against New Zealand at The Oval on Thursday with the Tigers bowled out for 244 despite another classy innings from left-hander Shakib Al Hasan (64 off 68 balls).

Shakib then did his best to influence the game with the ball, capturing 2/47 off ten overs, however the Black Caps snuck home in the 48th over with the winning runs struck off Mustafizur Rahman who endured an uncharacteristically expensive night (0/48 off 7.1 overs). Despite a last-start loss we expect England to pull no punches and maintain their aggressive approach from the onset in this one.

Key Stats

  • *England have won three of their last four ODIs against Bangladesh, but have lost their last two clashes at World Cups.
  • England have scored more than six runs in the first over in two of their past three ODIs.
  • Bangladesh’s opening bowler has conceded more than six runs an over in four of their past five ODIs.

Betting Strategy

LAY  – England First Over Runs 6 Runs or less at 2.00 or better for 1 unit.

Afghanistan v New Zealand

June 8, 10:30pm, County Ground Taunton

Match Overview

Still searching for their first win of the tournament, Afghanistan travel south to Taunton where they will tackle an unbeaten New Zealand on Saturday.

Despite being on top for large periods, Afghanistan were unable to overcome Sri Lanka at Cardiff on Tuesday, going down by 34 runs in a fluctuating affair. After an awful start which saw the Lankans cruise to 1/144 in the 22nd over, veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi changed the course of the match with an incredible spell of 4/30 off nine overs including three wickets in the space of five balls to condemn Sri Lanka to 201 all out.

The Afghans made a rocky start to the chase, stumbling to 5/57, however a 64-run stand between the powerful Najibullah Zadran (43 off 56 balls) and captain Gulbadin Naib (23 off 32 balls) gave them some hope before another collapse of 5/31 saw them bowled out for 152.

New Zealand made it back-to-back wins on Wednesday with a nervy two-wicket victory over Bangladesh whom they dismissed for 244 thanks largely to a wonderful spell from pace bowler Matt Henry (4/47 off 9.2 overs). The Black Caps were absolutely cruising at 2/160 in 32nd over, however they suffered a mini collapse of 5/58 and only crept home with 17 balls remaining off the back of a mature knock from the in-form Ross Taylor who compiled 82 off 91 balls.

Taylor is now averaging 75.86 from his last ten ODI innings and I see no reason why he won’t continue to cash in against the competition minnows.

Key Stats

  • Afghanistan have failed to win their last five ODIs against fellow World Cup opposition, while New Zealand have won their last five.
  • Ross Taylor is averaging 75.86 from his last ten ODI innings.
  • Ross Taylor has top-scored in six of his past 11 ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Ross Taylor Top New Zealand Batsman at 4.75 or bigger for 1 unit.

Pakistan v Sri Lanka

June 7, 7:30pm, Bristol County Ground

Match Overview

After both sides fought back from an opening loss to record their first win of the tournament, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be looking to put together back-to-back wins when they take on each other at Bristol on Friday.

Having been humiliated against the West Indies in their first match, Pakistan fought back bravely to stun hosts England at Trent Bridge on Monday, snapping an 11-game losing streak to win by 14 runs.

After being sent into bat on a flat pitch, Pakistan showed no signs of the wobbles they displayed against the Windies with half-centuries to Mohammad Hafeez (84 off 62 balls), Babar Azam (63 off 66 balls) and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (55 off 44 balls) leading them to an imposing 8/348 from their 50 overs.

Then with the hosts threatening to chase down another sizeable target at 4/248 in the 29th over, left-arm quick Wahab Riaz took control, capturing three admittedly expensive wickets to finish with 3/82 from his ten overs as England could only scrape to 9/334.

On Tuesday Sri Lanka carried out a hard-fought win over Afghanistan in what was a highly fluctuating clash as they crashed from 1/144 to be bowled out for just 201 despite the best efforts of opener Kusal Perera (78 off 81 balls).

After some early stumbles of their own, the Afghans recovered to reach 5/121 in the 25th over, however an inspired spell from Nuwan Pradeep (4/31 off nine overs) ensured that the Lankans would secure their first victory of the competition, bowling Afghanistan out for 152.

Although Pakistan were impressive and Sri Lanka were unconvincing in their last outings, heavy favouritism is not something that generally sits well with Sarfaraz’s side so my first move will be to lay the jollies, with the intention of trading out to secure profit on either side.

Key Stats

  • *Pakistan have won only two of their past 15 ODIs
  • Sri Lanka have won only three of their past 17 ODIs.
  • Pakistan have won their last six ODIs against Sri Lanka.

Betting Strategy

 LAY to BACK – Pakistan at 1.44 or better for 1 unit (trade out at 2.10 or bigger).

Australia v West Indies

June 6, 7:30pm, Trent Bridge

Match Overview

After both securing comfortable wins to start the tournament, Australia and the West Indies will do battle in an exciting contest at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

The Aussies began their title defence with a steady seven-wicket win over Afghanistan at Bristol on Saturday. After being asked to field first, Australia made an ideal start, dismissing both Afghan openers without scoring to leave them reeling at 2/5, and while the minnows rebuilt astutely they were eventually bowled out for 207 with Pat Cummins (3/40 off 8.2 overs) the pick of the bowlers.

An opening stand of 96 between captain Aaron Finch (66 off 49 balls) and player of the match David Warner (89 not out off 114 balls) ensured that the chase was navigated smoothly with Australia breezing home in the 35th over.

The Windies made an immediate impact on the competition when a spiteful spell from young quick Oshane Thomas (4/27 off 5.4 overs) helped to humiliate Pakistan for just 105 at this venue on Friday.

Veteran opener Chris Gayle then continued his impressive form, racking up his sixth-consecutive ODI half-century with 50 off just 34 balls, before fellow left-hander Nicholas Pooran joined the party with an unbeaten 34 off 19 balls which allowed the Calypso Kings to saunter home in the 14th over.

What was noticeable in both sides’ opening matches was the difference in approach to chasing a meagre target, so while I can’t be confident that the West Indies will win this match, I do fancy that they’ll hit more maximums than the reigning champions.

Key Stats

  • Australia have won their last nine ODIs.
  • However Australia have hit more sixes than their opponents in only four of their past seven ODIs.
  • West Indies have four players in their squad who average more than one six per innings, whereas Australia have just one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Indies Most Sixes at 1.75 or bigger for 1 unit.

South Africa v India

June 5, 7:30pm, Hampshire Bowl

Match Overview

Having dropped their two opening games of the tournament, a desperate South African side travel to Southampton to take on competition heavyweights India on Wednesday.

Whilst their opponents will be playing their third match, this will be the first for India in the World Cup after they were reportedly given an extended break following on from the IPL. They did, however, take part in a pair of warm-up matches in which they were overrun by New Zealand before comfortably seeing off Bangladesh, two results typified by batting returns of 179 all out and 7/359. But perhaps the most ominous sign from those fixtures was the form of spearhead Jasprit Bumrah who took a combined 3/27 from nine overs, highlighting why he is the number one ranked bowler in ODI cricket.

Meanwhile the Proteas slumped to their second consecutive defeat when they leaked 6/330 against Bangladesh at The Oval on Sunday, their cause not helped by an injury to young firebrand Lungi Ngidi who was forced off the field after only completing four overs. Captain Faf du Plessis led the way in the chase with a stylish 62 off 53 balls, but South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually restricted to 8/309, placing them on the brink of elimination. With both sides boasting plenty of power with the bat and a phenomenal 734 runs scored in the last ODI at this ground just a few weeks ago, we’re happy to be with whoever is batting first on this surface.

Key Stats

  • India have scored 320 or more in four of their past seven ODIs when batting firs.
  • South Africa have scored 320 or more in three of their past seven ODIs when batting first.
  • The 734 runs scored in the last ODI at the Hampshire Bowl was the eighth-highest in ODI history.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 1st Innings Runs 320 Runs or more at 1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Bangladesh v New Zealand

June 5, 10:30pm, The Oval

Match Overview

Two high-flying sides will do battle on Wednesday when Bangladesh face off against New Zealand at The Oval.

The Tigers got their 2019 campaign underway by overwhelming South Africa at this ground on Sunday by 21 runs.

Having been sent into bat, star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (75 off 84 balls) and ‘keeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (78 off 80 balls) shared in a record stand of 142, before fellow veteran Mahmudullah (46 not out off 33 balls) applied the finishing touches as Bangladesh reached their highest ever ODI total of 6/330.

Although the Proteas threatened the run down the target, three wickets to left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman (3/67 off ten overs) along with a tight spell from off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz (1/44 off ten overs) who shared the new ball with Mustafizur was enough to keep South Africa at bay and they eventually finished on 8/309.

New Zealand also got their tournament off to a winning start, brushing aside Sri Lanka after three wickets each to Matt Henry (3/29 off seven overs) and Lockie Ferguson (3/22 off 6.2 overs) helped to knock the Lankans over for a paltry 136.

The opening pair of Martin Guptill (73 not out off 51 balls) and Colin Munro (58 not out off 47 balls) then made short work of the target, with the Blacks Caps home in the 17th over without losing a wicket in what was a dominant performance.

The Kiwis may have had it their own way on Saturday but they face a much stiffer task here and it’s hard to ignore the claims of Bangladesh who look a very attractive price.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have now won their last five ODIs, all away from home.
  • New Zealand have won only three of their past nine ODIs away from home.
  • Bangladesh have won nine of their last ten ODIs against New Zealand played outside of New Zealand.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bangladesh at 3.60 or bigger for 1 unit.

Afghanistan v Sri Lanka

June 4, 7:30pm, Cardiff Wales Stadium

Match Overview

After both enduring a difficult start to the tournament, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will be looking to get off the mark when they face off at Cardiff Wales Stadium on Tuesday.

The Afghans campaign started with a seven-wicket loss to defending champions Australia at Bristol on Saturday. Having won the toss and elected to bat, the minnows were early trouble at 2/5, however a stoic knock from dependable first drop Rahmat Shah (43 off 60 balls) combined with a sparkling 51 off 49 deliveries from Najibullah Zadran got them to a creditable 207 all out.

An opening stand of 96 ensured that the Aussies had few issues with the target which they eventually reached in the 35th over, but not before a tight spell from energetic quick Hamid Hassan (0/15 off six overs).

Sri Lanka also begun with a loss, though it was more hefty and humiliating after they were humbled for just 136 batting first against New Zealand despite the best efforts of skipper Dimuth Karunaratne who carried his bat for a brave 52 off 84 balls. Unfortunately there were no highlights in the field for the Lankans as the Black Caps breezed to the target in the 16th over with veteran paceman Lasith Malinga coming in for particular punishment (0/46 off five overs).

At least in the case of Afghanistan there were some promising signs with both bat and ball, whereas Sri Lanka looked totally devoid of confidence which is why I lean towards the Afghans at odds-against here.

Key Stats

  • Afghanistan have lost only three of their past eight matches against fellow World Cup opposition.
  • Sri Lanka have lost their last nine matches against fellow World Cup opposition.
  • The last time these sides met Afghanistan won by 91 runs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Back Afghanistan at 2.10 or bigger for 1 unit.

England v Pakistan

June 3, 7:30pm, Trent Bridge

Match Overview

Following contrasting starts to the tournament, competition front-runners England host the struggling Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Monday.

England got their much-anticipated campaign underway with a comfortable 104-run win over South Africa at The Oval on Thursday. Having been sent into bat the Three Lions lost Jonny Bairstow to just the second ball of the match, however Bairstow was the only member of England’s top five not to register a half-century with contributions from Ben Stokes (89 off 79 balls), Eoin Morgan (57 off 60 balls), Jason Roy (54 off 53 balls) and Joe Root (51 off 59 balls) guiding them to a robust 8/311 from their 50 overs.

Although the Proteas threatened to run down the sizeable target at 2/129 in the 23rd over, a hostile spell from new quick Jofra Archer (3/27 off seven overs) tore through South Africa’s middle-order and they were eventually bowled out for just 207.

Pakistan themselves fell victim to belligerent fast-bowling at this ground on Saturday when they were routed for just 105 by the West Indies, their lowest total in a World Cup since they were rolled for just 74 by England back in 1992.

Although the Windies cruised to the target inside 14 overs there were at least some promising signs for left-arm quick Mohammad Amir who captured 3/26 off six overs, whilst the remaining Pakistani bowlers combined for 0/79 off 7.4 overs. It’s impossible to be with Pakistan at the moment given their run of form, however England do look fairly priced which is why I will instead be taking the bigger price about the hosts to clear the ropes more frequently than their opponents.

Key Stats

  • Pakistan have now lost their last 11 ODIs.
  • In those 11 losses Pakistan have hit more sixes than their opponents just twice.
  • England boast five of the top 25 six-hitters in ODIs this year, whilst Pakistan have only one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – England Most Sixes at 1.45 or bigger for 2 units.

South Africa v Bangladesh

June 2, 7:30pm, The Oval

Match Overview

After going down to hosts England in the tournament opener, South Africa will be looking to bounce back with a win against a seasoned Bangladesh side at The Oval on Sunday.

Bangladesh have set their sights on a first-ever semi-final appearance at the World Cup, an achievement which seems well within their grasp given that they have won 11 of their past 16 ODIs, albeit mostly against weaker opposition such as the West Indies and Zimbabwe. Experience certainly won’t be an issue for the Tigers as their squad boasts five players with 175 or more ODI appearances and they have retained eight players from the 2015 squad which reached the quarter-finals ahead of England.

Another factor in their favour could be conditions with The Oval pitch playing on the slow side in the competition’s opening match which would certainly suit Bangladesh’s batsmen and spinners.

The Proteas’ bowlers took some time to adjust to those slower conditions on Thursday but some canny variations from young quick Lungi Ngidi (3/66 off ten overs) kept the rampant English batting line-up to an achievable 8/311. At 2/129 in the 23rd over South Africa seemed on track to run down the target but they collapsed to be bowled out for 207 despite half-centuries to Quinton de Kock (68 off 74 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (50 off 61 balls).

Given the relatively sluggish conditions likely to greet both teams I would expect the underdogs to trade shorter in this one.

Key Stats

  • Bangladesh have won 11 of their past 16 ODIs.
  • South Africa have won eight of their past ten ODIs.
  • However, South Africa have won only two of their past nine ODIs in England.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Bangladesh at 3.80 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 2.50 or better).

Afghanistan v Australia

June 01, 10:30pm, Bristol County Ground

Match Overview

Reigning champions Australia begin their title defence on Saturday when they take on a plucky Afghanistan side at the Bristol County Ground.

In just their second World Cup Afghanistan will be looking for their second win, though overcoming the five-time champions would be more far more momentous than their one-wicket victory over Scotland four years ago. It is undoubtedly a tall task as while the Afghans have improved immeasurably in the last few years, their record against top-quality opposition still makes for painful reading with the vast majority of their success coming against the likes of Ireland, Scotland and Zimbabwe.

If they are to take a giant leap forward then much will depend on their experienced trio of spin bowlers Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman who have all played key roles in various domestic T20 competitions including the IPL and Nabi was a pivotal figure in their warm-up win against Pakistan last Friday.

For the Aussies they will be looking to build some momentum, especially at the top of the order where coach Justin Langer must finally decide who to omit out of Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh with the returning David Warner and captain Aaron Finch seemingly the first-choice opening pair. There are also some question marks over the make-up of the bowling attack with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff and Kane Richardson all competing for the final pace bowling spot, although if conditions suit then Nathan Lyon could well partner Adam Zampa in a two-pronged spin attack.

Whilst I expect the defending champions to have few problems with the Afghans they are too short to back outright, however I would imagine there will be a focus on getting an early net run rate boost which is why there is some value around the favourites having the highest ten over score.

Key Stats

  • Afghanistan have never defeated Australia, England, India or New Zealand.
  • In matches against Australia, England, India and New Zealand, Afghanistan have had the highest ten over score only once.
  • Australia have had the highest ten over score in six of their last nine ODIs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Australia Highest 10 Over Total at 1.35 or bigger for 2 units.

New Zealand v Sri Lanka

June 1, 7:30pm, Cardiff Wales Stadium

Match Overview

Tournament specialists New Zealand get their World Cup campaign underway with an intriguing clash against the unfancied Sri Lankans in Cardiff on Saturday.

Seven-time semi-finalists New Zealand will be looking to upstage their more revered rivals, but first they must get the better of a Sri Lankan side who they are expected to account for easily.

In recent times this hasn’t proved to be much of an issue for the Black Caps as since late-2017 they have won 15 out of 16 matches against the West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saturday’s opponents, though in the same period they have won only three of ten matches against heavyweights England and India.

The major vulnerability in their side appears to be the bowling attack which leaked an alarming 421 in a warm-up match against the Windies, further highlighting their dependence on left-arm quick Trent Boult who was the only Kiwi bowler in that match to concede less than 7.8 runs an over and this year has taken seven wickets more than the next highest wicket-taker Lockie Ferguson.

Whether Sri Lanka have the talent in their batting unit to take advantage of New Zealand’s ineptitude in the field remains to be seen, with Dimuth Karunaratne’s side passing 300 only four times in their past 39 ODIs including once against Scotland.

While the Black Caps’ attack may be overly reliant on Boult, the same could be said for Sri Lanka’s top-order in regard to Kusal Mendis who is the only Sri Lankan batsman to score more than 300 runs in ODIs this year and the only player with multiple half-centuries.

The Lankans’ bowling brigade is not stacked with quality either, though I do find the Kiwis prohibitively short which is why I’ll be backing the underdogs’ stand-out batsman to make his mark in this one.

Key Stats

  • New Zealand have won seven of their past eight ODIs against Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka’s recent win over Scotland snapped a nine-game losing streak in ODIs.
  • Kusal Mendis has top-scored in three of his past six ODIs.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Kusal Mendis Top Sri Lanka Batsman at 4.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

West Indies v Pakistan

May 31, 7:30pm, Trent Bridge

Match Overview

Two talented but erratic sides will do battle on Friday when Pakistan meet the West Indies at Trent Bridge.

Despite a relatively underwhelming record in recent fully-fledged ODIs, the Windies put all other sides on notice when they blasted a maniacal 421 against New Zealand in a warm-up match on Tuesday, with Shai Hope (101 off 86 balls), Andre Russell (54 off 25 balls), Evin Lewis (50 off 54 balls) and captain Jason Holder (47 off 32 balls) all taking a liking to the short boundaries at Bristol.

However they then exhibited why they have some way to go to be considered a serious threat for the tournament, with the Black Caps scoring at will before being eventually bowled out for 330. Perhaps the biggest issue facing the Calypso Kings is who will be their first-choice spinner with both Ashley Nurse and Fabian Allen averaging over 50 with the ball in ODIs this year.

Pakistan meanwhile saved one of their worst performances for the warm-ups, edged out by Afghanistan last Friday despite a century to the talented Babar Azam (112 off 108 balls) which lifted them to a competitive 262. However, like their opponents, Pakistan’s chief concern lies with the ball with the Afghanis getting home with three wickets in hand after the recent series against England in which Pakistan conceded totals of 340 or more in every match.

But unlike the Windies, Pakistan do have proven spin options via the wily Imad Wasim and the returning Shadab Khan and with rejuvenated left-arm quick Wahab Riaz (3/46 off 7.4 overs) also showing some promising signs against Afghanistan, I believe they have enough nous to get the better of their power-packed opposition.

Key Stats

  • The West Indies have won only five of their past 14 ODIs and only one of their past six ODIs against Pakistan.
  • Pakistan have conceded over 300 in their last five ODIs.
  • However the West Indies have conceded 300 or more in seven of their past 13 ODIs when bowling first.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Pakistan at 1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

England v South Africa

May 30, 7:30pm, The Oval

Match Overview

Tournament hosts and favourites England will be looking to open the 2019 World Cup in style with a win over a relatively unheralded South African outfit at the Oval on Thursday.

The Three Lions could scarcely come in the competition in better form, winning 12 of their last 15 ODIs overall and 15 of their past 16 at home.

Their batting unit is nothing short of terrifying, passing 300 in seven of their past ten ODIs when they have batted first, while Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and captain Eoin Morgan are all averaging in excess of 70 in ODIs this year at a strike-rate over 110.

There’s no doubt that their bowling attack is not as capable, with none of their bowlers averaging better than 30 in ODIs this year, however the addition of Jofra Archer at the expense of David Willey gives them more strike, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid is a proven match-winner in the middle overs.

The Proteas will certainly believe they can match the hosts in the field, boasting a wicket-taking wrist-spinner of their own in Imran Tahir, while their pace brigade of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Chris Morris provides an ideal blend of fiery youth and crafty experience.

Their batting line-up, whilst not as explosive and deep as their opponents, also offers plenty of quality with the likely top-order of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis all in stellar form.

Also working in South Africa’s favour is that they have held their own against England of late, winning 50% of matches against the tournament jollies since the last World Cup, so whilst I wouldn’t wish to oppose the home side straight up, I do fancy that the underdogs trade shorter in the competition opener.

Key Stats

  • England have won 15 of their last 16 ODIs at home.
  • South Africa have won eight of their past nine ODIs.
  • South Africa have won four of their past six ODIs against England.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – South Africa at 2.90 or bigger (trade out at 2.20 or better).


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