Live on Skysports 1: Fri 03.45 & 11.30: In the World Cup, New Zealand face Zimbabwe while Bangladesh will push West Indies all the way.
New Zealand are just 1/5 with William Hill as they take on Zimbabwe in Group A. After taking a punishing from Australia in very similar fashion to that which Zimbabwe did, the Kiwis need to be well on their guard to avoid what would be considered a shock at the bookies.
Ireland have proved it can be done and Zimbabwe will surely want to be in on the action and at 5/1 (Betdaq) are not quite as unfancied but at 10th in the rankings, will still be expected to lose.
Key factors here include New Zealand’s ability to really turn it on with the bat – particularly if batting 2nd – and the recent events in their native country. Many attributed part of their underwhelming display against Australia to happenings back in Christchurch and it’s very difficult to quantify whether it will happen again here and if it does, to what level.
Jessie Ryder and Ross Taylor are men to watch with the bat; they are 4/1 (888sport) and 5/1 (Totesport) respectively to top score while the unorthodox Hamish Bennett, who took 2 of the 3 Aussie wickets, is a good shout at 7/2 (Coral) to top wicket take.
As for Zimbabwe, they scored very well against Canada and need to take every plus from that match into this one to stand a chance. Graeme Cremer will need to be on song with the ball (7/2 with William Hill) but if they can capitalise on any Kiwi shakiness, they are worth taking at 4/5 (Sportingbet) with a +4.5 wicket or +49.5 run headstart.
In the day’s second game, Bangladesh and the West Indies come head to head in a very close looking game.
On home soil in Dhaka, Bangladesh could well be overpriced at 9/4 with bet365. They have won a brilliant 7 from the last 9 at this stadium, and with some solid batting against India and good bowling to deny Ireland reaching a low total, Bangladesh have a genuine chance here.
West Indies, 2/5 with Boylesports, did improve massively against the Netherlands in their 2nd match and Chris Gayle is always going to be something of a keystone. He is 11/4 (Totesport) to knock the most but if they lose him early, they could be in all sorts of bother. Stick with Bangladesh to cause a mini-upset.