Cricket World Cup Semi-Finals Betting: Five things to look out for

A wicket-keeper batsman becoming better and better by the game, England’s key under-the-radar bowler and injury issues from the Australian camp make Jamie Pacheco’s list of items to look out for in the semis…

Glove guy could be the dangerman of Australia
It has not been great tournament for wicket-keeper batsmen from the perspective of conducts. Quinton de Kock did ok but his performances were a far cry from the prolific run-getter of the past couple of decades, Jos Buttler looks strangely out of form and low on confidence and the excellent MS Dhoni has made more headlines for his slow, conservative and unadventurous innings than the swashbuckling ones of old. Even the great Sachin Tendulkar expressed his concern.

Hence that the wicket-keeper batsmen community could at least be proud of their efforts of Alex Carey. His three fifties from nine innings might not look like something to write home about but they need to be set into context. He’s almost always been asked to come in at seven and that is either to carry out a rescue act (New Zealand, West Indies), to get them on the line in a tough chase (South Africa) or to score quickly after a good start. Whatever was needed him off he always did it.

With 329 runs he is the team’s third highest scorer after David Warner and Aaron Finch. Together with Usman Khawaja struggling with a hamstring injury and Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis (himself fighting with injury) brief of runs, it would not be any surprise to see Carey come in one or two places higher than normal on Thursday. You will see much worse stakes than the 10/1 about him top scoring for Australia from England when the semis come about.

In a effort so far jam-packed with away the-cuff selection choices by the Indian direction, it would not be a surprise if the latest was that Ravindra Jadeja acquired a game in the semi-final.

He played the very first time this tournament against Sri Lanka, instead of Yuzvendra Chahal, who’d been pricey against England. Jadeja bowled 10 overs for only 40 runs, claimed the big wicket of Kusal Mendis, took a catch to discount that the well-set HDRL Thrimanne, but was not required to bat.

He could well keep his place in the team today with any of Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav or Mohammad Shami missing out. There is another reason why the Indian management may stick . Or two, rather. Maybe only Virat Kohli is as good a fielder as him in the side and his existence in the group solves their problem in number eight.

Jadeja’s three-dimensional abilities may provide India with a type of safety valve. A competition for? Why not?New Zealand’s opening venture was a disaster. Colin Munro was so bad that he was dropped two games ago and his replacement Henry Nicholls hasn’t fared far better. Martin Guptill’s career numbers are very impressive but not at this World Cup: one fifty in eight innings tells its own story.

It’s all in stark contrast to India’s where both openers obtained tonnes from Sri Lanka on Saturday. Rohit Sharma has 647 runs, including five centuries. KL Rahul has 360 runs like a century and two fifties and this despite the fact he’s just opened in India’s last few games.

It goes a long way to explaining why India are so brief at 4/11 to win the match when they face New Zealand. And why it’s just 8/13 which India have the highest opening partnership.

England man could make a roar

Liam Plunkett is among the less fussy and not as flashy players who’ll be playing in the semis but do not underestimate his importance.

Strangely dropped for four matches despite not having done much wrong, he returned to the side when England were drinking in last-chance saloon, taking three wickets against India and one against New Zealand. And look at that market rate: 5.5 in a high-scoring game against India and just 3.5 against the Kiwis.

In a group filled with big personalities, outspoken characters and players filled with’Hollywood’ abilities, this silent character who just gets on with it is as important as any of them. He’s 7/2 to be England’s top bowler against Australia.

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