India v New Zealand

India go into the World Cup as clear favourites, both for the competition and also the opening fixture. The 2014 runners-up begin their campaign against a New Zealand team without Brendan McCullum. The Indians, currently ranked the best T20 side in the world, will be full of confidence off the back of their Asia Cup victory.

The tournament opener will be played at Nagpur which has an average score of 161 in international T20s, and we therefore expect a high scoring affair. It’s an evening game which could also have an influence on the outcome, with dew in India normally making bowling first the preferred choice.

India’s strength is in their batting and spin bowling, and having capable spinners is a must for any game on the sub-continent. Ravinder Ashwin will lead the attack for the hosts, and you’re guaranteed an economical spell from him. The only part of India’s game which we’d criticise is the weakness in the seam bowling department. However, their explosive top order will be more than enough to cover up any leakages with the ball.

With that in mind, we’re backing a winning start to the competition for the hosts. At $1.46 they’re a short price, but this New Zealand team looks a couple of bowlers short and also lacks middle-order big hitting.

Ashwin is the highest ranked T20 bowler in the competition, and he’s already taken 17 international T20 wickets in 2016, including 4/8 against Sri Lanka. The 29-year-old will be crucial to keep the Kiwis to a low score, and we fancy him to get on top of the New Zealand batsmen and be Top Indian Bowler at $4.

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India - 1pt @ 1.46
Ravichandran Ashwin - 1pt @ 4.00