CWC SouthAfrica150In the second game on Saturday South Africa look to chalk up their first victory as they face Afghanistan whilst Sunday sees a huge clash between India and Pakistan in Manchester.

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan vs South Africa (Saturday @ 14:30) – Cardiff

 

SETTING THE SCENE

South Africans need no reminder of how bleak things look in terms of their team’s World Cup efforts thus far. Going into a World Cup there is always a lot of doubt about the South African side’s ability to handle the pressure of the biggest stage but this time around they seem to have gone one worse by not even getting themselves into those positions from which they can bottle it… Faf and his chargers will be keen on getting onto the field and notching up a much needed victory – lose and the team might as well start booking their holiday abroad (leaving from Heathrow of course as they wouldn’t dare step foot back on SA ground after tripping over the Afghans).

Afghanistan have impressed many with their fighting spirit and tenacity. They are certainly a team not merely reliant on Rashid Kahn. The Afghans have shown some industry and excitement at the top of the order whilst the spin duo of Nabi and Khan have proven lethal during the middle overs. Despite this they couldn’t get on over Sri Lanka and are still looking for their first log point in the World Cup.

 

LET’S TALK TACTICS

Nothing more and nothing less than a convincing, confidence building victory will do for the Proteas here. With overcast conditions around the SA attack will look to let the ball do the talking and knock Afghanistan over for a small total. Batting wise all eyes will be on Hashim Amla – fail to deliver against the lowest ranked team in the tournament and your fantastic career will end in a whimper. It will be up to the top order of the Proteas to set a healthy base before the spin comes on to try and strangle them.

The minnows would like nothing more than to topple on of the big names of the game. To do that they need their batsmen to keep their head. Yes, put the opening Protea bowlers under pressure but also make sure you keep wickets in hand and give yourself a chance of a decent total. Whether batting or bowling first your strength is the spinners in the middle overs and you need your batsmen to give them something to bowl at or should SA bat first the Fiz and his new ball mates need to keep things tight initially before conditions are ideal for the slow stuff.

Due to conditions there is certainly more in it for the bowlers than most of us expected. As a rule this Sophia Gardens pitch is good for batting and if anything there could be some help for the quickies with the new ball. The fact that these teams shouldn’t find a dry turner in Wales will play in favour of the South Africans.

 

HOW I SEE IT PLAYING OUT

Rabada, Ngidi (he should be raring to go) and Morris or Beuran Hendricks will be charging in, eager to get their side back in the comp. Batting wise Hash might just opt for slow and steady and come good here but I reckon the new ball could be the best time to bat for a Saffa (and they could also be chasing a low score) and as such De Kock is the man to back. The spinners should hold the most issues for the South African batsmen.

Bets with BETOLIMP:

Top SA Batsman – Quinton de Kock @ 3.60

Top Afghanistan Bowler – Mohammad Nabi @ 4.50

Man of the Match – K Rabada @ 13.00

 

India vs Pakistan (Sunday @ 11:30) – Manchester

 

SETTING THE SCENE

If the weather plays its part we will see our first World Cup 2019 game at Manchester. A match-up only really seen at major tournaments this one will surely draw an enormous viewership (and crowd of course) as these cricket loving nations do “battle” on the cricket field.

India are yet to taste defeat in their campaign and would like to move one step closer toward sealing a playoff spot. Pakistan stunned the hosts but have also suffered two losses and shared points on one occasion. Mickey Arthur’s side would dearly like a victory over their rivals to pull them back into the race.

 

LET’S TALK TACTICS

The top 3 for India have all hit form and that spells serious trouble for the others. With the ball there have also been signs that Buvi Kumar was getting back to his best. With Bumrah and Chahal already operating at a high level it would put the Indians in an incredibly strong position should the old Buvi make his appearance. Kuldeep has continued struggling and it might be a better option for Kohli to go with Jadeja going forward.

Pakistan have had a number of contributions with the bat but no one has gone on and really gotten those big scores required to consistently win games. The middle to lower order poses a few issues for the Pakistanis. With the ball Amir has been in sensational form but he requires more support from the others.

 

HOW I SEE IT PLAYING OUT

India have the better balanced team but Pakistan have a few match winners who could just ensure an upset on the day, but I doubt it. Amir has been head-and-shoulders the best of the Paki’s. Babar Azam has had a few starts but is yet to convert a big one - Hafeez has quietly been chipping away and he is the type of scrapper who will be keen on getting one over the old rival. Against a fellow sub-continent side I reckon seam will be more dangerous than spin and will take Bumrah to continue his impressive form.

 

Bets with BETOLIMP:

Top Pakistan Batsman – Mohammad Hafeez @ 6.00

Top Pakistan Bowler – Mohammad Amir @ 3.50

Man of the Match – JJ Bumrah @ 13.00

 

(Note, all odds quoted are subject to change)

 

Enjoy the cricket and happy punting!

 

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