Can Lara finally come good?
England facing West Indies in the final: who would have thought that ten days ago
West Indies' allrounder Dwayne Bravo looks excellent value at 22-1 to be the Man of the Match in Saturday's final
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England facing West Indies in the final: who would have thought that ten days ago? Well, here we are, and looking at the pre-match odds published at bet365, we are in for mighty tight contest.
The sides met three times earlier in the Summer in the NatWest Series, and the Windies came out on top 2-1, which makes it slightly surprising that England are 1/2 favourites, while the West Indies are 6/4. In all three of those games the team betting first lost. This pattern has continued throughout the Champions Trophy and it goes without saying that the toss is vital (just ask Inzamam-ul-Haq).
Top team run-scorer
No single player on either side has had an outstanding tournament as both sides have relied on runs from all players, making this a tough market to call. For England, the obvious bets would be: Marcus Trescothick (7/2), Michael Vaughan (4/1), Andrew Strauss (4/1) and of course Andrew Flintoff (4/1). However, their most consistent batsmen throughout the tournament has often been Paul Collingwood, and he offers extra value at the slightly longer odds of 8/1. But If you are interested in throwing your money away, why not back the hapless Vikram Solanki at 9/2?
For the West Indies, Chirs Gayle (10/3) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (4/1) have been the mainstay of their trophy campaign, but Brian Lara might be worth a punt. He's has had an average time against England all summer, he was hit on the head by Shoaib Ahktar in the semi-final and Harmison will be chomping at the bit to rough him up. However this is likely to be his last international appearance on English soil and it's a huge final. A player of his stature cannot be ignored at 10/3.
Again there has been no stand-out bowler on either side. England's attack have all chipped in with vital displays and are all averaging below 20. Steve Harmison has terrorised all opposition in all formats of the game this year and is unsurprisingly favourite to be England's top wicket-taker at 5/2. For a bet offering more value, why not Darren Gough at 7/2? This could be his last major final in England and he has always been one to rise to the occasion.
For the West Indies, Merv Dillon has been steady throughout the tournament and is favourite at 5/2. However the interesting bets could be young left-arm seamer Ian Bradshaw (3/1) and the underrated Chris Gayle (7/2).
Man of the Match
Where else can you look in this field than that man Flintoff? He's won five MOM awards in the last 12 months and right now he is the best one-day allrounder in the world. He contributes consistently with bat, ball and he is an outstanding fielder. He leads this market at 5/1. For the more adventurous of you, why not take a look at Dwayne Bravo? He has impressed with bat and ball this summer and his bowling in particular is suited to English conditions. bet365 have him at the absurdly long odds of 22/1.
bet365 are also offering pre-match markets for:
All-round performances for each player
Most team runs in first 15 overs
Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.