England v India: A tale of two openers for knockout clash

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The Carlton Mid Tri Series was designed to help India, England and Australia prepare for the World Cup and, in a stroke of luck, the last group game between the former pair takes on a semi-final simulation.

Whoever wins between England and India at the WACA will progress to face the Aussies in Sunday’s final, recreating the exact kind of pressure situation that the knockout rounds of the World Cup will produce.

India shade favouritism at 4/5 to win, while England can be backed at 1/1 for victory. Here, though, are our three best bets for the game:

England to win @ 1/1

How India can be favoured to win this given their recent form is quite baffling.

MS Dhoni’s side haven’t won a single game since arriving Down Under and were thoroughly outplayed by England in their previous meeting at Brisbane.

Finding a pitch of similar pace and bounce to the Gabba track that saw Steven Finn and James Anderson dismiss the Indians for 153 gives Eoin Morgan’s men a serious advantage.

Shikhar Dhawan to score under 26.5 runs @ 5/6

Injury to Rohit Sharma, sustained after his knock of 138 in the series opener against the Aussies, has coincided with a drastic drop off in form for Dhawan.

If Sharma was fit, Dhawan could probably expect to be dropped for this match, but with only seven batsman in the squad, India are in no position to do that.

A top score of eight in the three matches at this tournament isn’t likely to be bettered by much against an attack in supreme confidence.

Ian Bell to score 50 @ 2/1

While Dhawan struggles at the top of the order, Bell continues to thrive.

Since being named as Alastair Cook’s replacement at the start of this tour, Bell’s scores in all matches have been 51, 187, 0, 88* and 141.

The Warwickshire man is the leading run getter in the tournament with 229 from three knocks and averages a healthy 36.11 at the WACA in all forms.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.