Australia vs. England, Second T20: Betting Preview
England are a standout 6-5 with Bet365 to win the second T20 against Australia, but anyone wishing to back them at such skinny odds might want to delve a little deeper into the market for top England batsmen.
Top England Batsman
The visitors were not short of firepower in their narrow defeat to Australia in Wednesday's first T20. A score of 200 was, when looked upon in isolation, a fine achievement given the calamitous start to the innings in which Alex Hales, Michael Lumb and Luke Wright, the Three Lions powerhouse triumvirate, had all departed within the first five overs with just 45 on the scoreboard.
Hales is currently the No. 1-ranked T20 batsman in the world in the official ICC rankings, and it's not hard to see why. He's big, tall, muscular and has the ability to clear the ropes at will, however his form coming into this three-match series is less than sparkling, registering a top score of 32 in his last eight T20 innings for England and his Big Bash side Adelaide Strikers. While more than capable of playing a long innings, the 7-2 best price with Ladbrokes means punters could find a more attractive alternative.
I'm also passing up Michael Lumb at 4-1. Lumb has never won me over with his performances for England. Too many times have I seen him scratch around, taking up valuable time in the middle before letting the pressure get to him, eventually giving his wicket away.
Luke Wright is my favourite player, but still I can't bring myself to side with him either at around 4-1. He's shone in the Big Bash for the Melbourne Stars, and I'd personally prefer to see him open the batting in place of Michael Lumb (and in the England ODI team for that matter). But such is his aggression in this format and his willingness to take on any bowler with a variety of big shots, it means that for every huge score he's made, there's also a number of small ones to go with them. He's made four half-centuries in 41 T20I innings and has an average of 20.10, the lowest among England's top seven batsmen.
So who am I putting up for top England batsman? It's got to be Eoin Morgan at 9-2 with Paddy Power. Morgan is the key man to this batting lineup. He's versatile, elegant but also capable of brutal six-hitting once he decides it's the right time to go. He seems keen to remain at No. 5 in the order, and were he to elevate himself to No. 4 ahead of Joe Root, then maybe we'd start to notice the bookmakers shortening his odds in this particular betting market for future matches.
Morgan seems to enjoy batting at the No. 5 spot, however, and so our bet is reliant upon England losing three wickets by the 10 over stage. But given the current lack of confidence in the Three Lions dressing room, I don't see any issues here.
If you forget the blip in the last match, when he was clean bowled for four while attempting to slog a slower ball from Glenn Maxwell, the stats suggest he's in great form, failing to register a score below 30 just twice in his past 10 innings in all competitions including scores of 50, 106, 54, 33 and 39 in the recent ODI series against Australia. Now that's consistency!
So to recap, Eoin Morgan should be top England batsman in the second T20 vs. Australia, generally available at 9-2. If you want a saver, Ravi Bopara's been the hero for England on several occasions in the past year, and he might just have to save them again. Back him at 9-1 with Paddy Power.
All odds correct at time of writing and taken from Oddschecker.com.
All stats taken from ESPNcricinfo.com.