ICC Champions Trophy England v Australia
One of the reasons why this ICC 50-over Championship is so exciting for punters is that the market is so volatile and everything can change so quickly.
A good result in the first Group game can promise, though not guarantee, progress to the semi-finals and at the very least boost confidence no end. That’s why India now look the team to beat (3/1 favourites with Coral) after outscoring South Africa in the Group B round-robin opener and in turn why the Proteas, pre-tournament market leaders, have quickly been relegated to fifth favourites at 15/2. And so well-matched do all eight sides appear to be, that there is every likelihood that it will all look very different again after the second round of Group games.
England received their confidence boost for their opening Group A match against Australia at Edgbaston tomorrow when beating New Zealand in the last of the ODIs last weekend.
New Zealand had already won the series, but England took a huge amount out of the game, quite apart from the result. First, and most important, was the return to the team of Stuart Broad and Steven Finn after injury – England had looked pretty ordinary without them.
Then there was the spectacular and wonderfully effective blitz from Eoin Morgan and particularly Jos Buttler, who turned an ordinary score into an ultimately ungettable target by smashing 82 off the final five Kiwi overs.
And last, but not least, was the excellent contribution made by James Tredwell. Graeme Swann remains England number one spinner, but Tredwell rarely lets the side down when called upon and there may well be room for both at Edgbaston.
England look a solid bet at 8/11 to beat the Aussies, still reeling from being skittled out for 65 by India in a warm-up match earlier this week.
The Aussies will play down the significance of such a humiliating defeat, but it was hardly what they were looking for. And there was more bad news for the Baggy Greens earlier today when it was confirmed that Michael Clarke, their captain and star batsman, will miss tomorrow’s game because of a recurring lower back injury.
Coral’s market on England’s leading scorer reflects the depth of batting talent. Morgan (11/2) and Buttler (8/1) will have their supporters following their Trent Bridge heroics, but it all depends on how those higher up the order do their job.
Cook (3/1 favourite), Jonathan Trott (100/30) and Ian Bell (7/2) are all capable of compiling big innings, but Joe Root (11/2) remains in good nick and can take advantage of his move up to number 4.