Malan and Babar bets
Although the match odds market suggests this is another mismatch, the three-game series could be a close, fiercely-contested affair. We make a case for that in our match preview.
England’s white-ball batting belligerence goes up against Pakistan’s skill and verve across the two main disciplines. We also have the opportunity to watch Babar Azam and Dawid Malan, two of the most reliable T20 batters in the world.
Indeed, the ICC rate them at Nos 2 and 1 on their ‘best’ list. We’re more interested in how often they win markets. And boy, do they deliver.
Babar is brilliant as anyone who witnessed his 158 in the final ODI will testify. He has a career win rate on top Pakistan bat in T20 at a massive 38.4%. He is at No 10 in the all-time lists for top match runscorer, too, returning 24% of the time.
Sportsbook go 13/5 and 5/1 about him taking honours in the innings and match respectively. Neither are short enough.
Slightly ahead of Babar on the ‘most top scored in an innings’ list is Mohammad Hafeez. Regular backers of Babar in this market will know him well because he has a habit of trumping the great man.
On the two-year data below, Hafeez has three wins in 15. Sportsbook go 9/2 that he takes the plaudits. On win rate versus implied probability that is an edge of 1.8%. Over his career, Hafeez wins at an impressive 18.3%. Pakistan’s No 4 is also value on top match bat at 11/1. He cops at a rate of 12.2%
Malan is an unstoppable force, too.
For some time we have wondered whether he might be just a flash in the pan. Or, to put it a more scientific way, return to the mean. But 27 games into a stop-start career he shows no sign of slowing up. His win rate on top England bat is 40.7% and top match bat comes in at 25.9%.
Sportsbook go 7/2 and 7/1 about him taking the spoils for innings and match respectively. Neither are remotely tight enough.
It is a no-brainer to be betting Malan. His England team-mates, unsurprisingly, are lagging behind on wins. Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy all come with bigger reputations but their records do not warrant support. Bairstow is particularly mean at 5/2 considering he is likely to slot back in at No 4 with Roy and Buttler opening.
Top England bat last two years wins/matches
Top Pakistan batsman last two years wins/matches
Top England bowler wins/matches last two years
Jordan 5 3t/27
Rashid 3 5t/26
T Curran 1 3t/20
S Curran 1 4t/16
Wood 1 2t/14
Stokes 1 2t/11
Saqib Mahmood took 12 wickets in five matches for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League before it was postponed because of a Covid bubble breach. He was also excellent in the ODI series against Pakistan.
It is no surprise that he is 5/2 favourite for top England bowler. It might be slightly surprising to learn that only one of those wickets in the PSL was from Pakistan’s expected top five – Sohaib Maqsood. Indeed, he took only three wickets of Pakistan squad members. Azam Khan and Mohammad Wasim the others.
For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi is a big swerve at 2/1 for top bowler. Afridi has only one win and one tie in his last ten.
The Hundred Preview Part I on Cricket…Only Bettor