STAR PREVIEW: England v Australia with RYAN SIDEBOTTOM

Two matches remain in the Cricket World Cup and it’s long odds against we are going to see anything as dramatic as India v New Zealand. If we are, strap yourselves in.

Sure, the weather played its part but like everyone else I thought the target of 239 set by New Zealand was fairly modest and not high enough to trouble India.

What I didn’t count on was New Zealand’s explosive bowling on Wednesday which saw India’s top three all score just one run each. Incredible scenes.

India staged a terrific fightback though causing dramatic volatility in the betting markets and just after 2pm they needed 81 runs from 53 balls with six wickets down. The crowd believed it was on. starsports.bet were 2/7 New Zealand and 3/1 India at this point.

A superb partnership between Jadeja and Dhoni soared past 100 and suddenly India needed 37 from the last three overs. New Zealand were still 4/9 to hang on.

A pivotal catch from Williamson claimed Jadeja with just 13 balls to go immediately sending the Black Caps back to 1/8.

And then a six from Dhoni – who was then run out with the very next ball!

The tail-enders were faced with a big ask, and it was over when Chahal edged behind. From looking like going to the wire – the game rather fizzled out and New Zealand had done enough. So now it’s New Zealand in the final at Lord’s awaiting England or Australia.

That’s bad news for me as I went for England v India at the outset so work to be done again.

Deep breath and on to Edgbaston on Thursday for England v Australia. What a match in store and the betting says all you need to know. England are narrow favourites with home advantage but the Aussies beat England in the group stages. No disrespect to New Zealand but both teams will now fancy their chances of going all the way, however there’s a massive semi-final standing in the way first.

For all there’s been plenty of positives to take out of the World Cup, one thing I keep hammering on about is the start time. I mentioned on the radio today that 10.30am is too early, we saw it again at Old Trafford with India losing early wickets – there’s just too much moisture still about and even pushing back to 11am would make all the difference in my opinion and try and stop the weather having such a major say.

As for Thursday, it is what it is and it will be interesting to see how England cope with the left-armers of Australia, it’s a very tough match to call as the format means it’s a game of just the smallest margins.

Hopefully England will get off to a flyer and I’m sure if they win the toss they will bat first and try and make a stand.

I want to be under 11.5 match sixes with starsports.bet in what presumably will be a close, edgy encounter with not too much gung-ho play.

For top batsmen Jos Buttler (5/1) and Glenn Maxwell (11/2) are a couple of value alternatives against the more obvious. Both have it in them to put a decent score on the board.

It’s hard to look beyond Mitchell Starc to be the top Aussie wicket taker at 9/4 and for England Chris Woakes appeals at 7/2 at his home ground and after his excellent performance against India.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK UNDER 11.5 MATCH SIXES 7.5pts at 5/6 with starsports.bet
BACK JOS BUTTLER TOP ENGLAND BATSMAN 3pts at 5/1 with starsports.bet
BACK GLENN MAXWELL TOP AUSTRALIA BATSMAN 3pts at 11/2 with starsports.bet
BACK CHRIS WOAKES TOP ENGLAND WICKET TAKER 5pts at 7/2 with starsports.bet
BACK MICTHELL STARC TOP AUSTRALIA WICKET TAKER 2.5pts at 9/4 with starsports.bet


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