STAR PREVIEW: India v New Zealand with RYAN SIDEBOTTOM

And then there were four. Two more wins required from India, New Zealand, Australia or England to lift the trophy at Lord’s on Sunday. Looking back on my ante-post picks on starsports.bet – CLICK HERE I’m hoping England can go all the way but my portfolio will get a huge boost if it’s an England v India final.

Both are favourites to win their respective semi-finals but it’s often never that easy 🙂

Don’t miss my Australia v England preview published on Tuesday but in the first semi-final India play New Zealand at Old Trafford.

I said at the outset that New Zealand ‘could do better than their price suggests’ so it’s a case of careful what you wish for if they do prevent India from reaching the final.

New Zealand are a side that constantly punch above their weight, but it might just be that their form is starting to tail off. They lost their last three World Cup group matches where as India come into this having topped their group losing just one match. Momentum is with India.

The two never got to play each other during the group stage after the tie was rained off.

As always, the toss will be vital and if I was captain I’d be wanting to bat first to set a marker for the game and put the opposition under pressure. Hopefully there won’t be any weather problems – despite patchy rain being forecast in Manchester.

There’ll be quite a few disappointed fans watching from home. The ICC have revealed that there were 650,000 ticket applications for the semi-final matches !!

It should be a good surface to bat on with the drying weather. There are lots of quality batsmen – but will they play the same game as during the group stages or be less gung-ho?

That said, I still want to be OVER 8.5 on match sixes. I think the odds compilers may have brought down the target too far and there’s so many quality batsman out there we will surely have a good run for our money with the race for 9 sixes.

For top batsman Rohit Sharma (9/4) makes most appeal for India – it’s so hard splitting him with Kohli and Rahul as the odds would also suggest.

Henry Nicholls is a sporting bet to be top Black Caps runscorer at 4/1. He has been steady so far during the tournament, and the poor form of Martin Guptill makes this a more open market.

Jasprit Bumrah looks the safe call to be India’s top wicket taker again at 9/4 and for New Zealand Trent Boult (11/4) can continue the excellent record of left-handers during the tournament.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK OVER 8.5 MATCH SIXES 7.5pts at 8/11 with starsports.bet
BACK ROHIT SHARMA TOP INDIA BATSMAN 3pts at 9/4 with starsports.bet
BACK HENRY NICHOLLS TOP NEW ZEALAND BATSMAN 3pts at 4/1 with starsports.bet
BACK JASPRIT BUMRAH TOP INDIA WICKET TAKER 2pts at 9/4 with starsports.bet
BACK TRENT BOULT TOP NEW ZEALAND WICKET TAKER 2pts at 11/4 with starsports.bet


PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 194.29 points
(excluding Cricket World Cup ante-post, Wimbledon Manic Monday)