SOUTH AFRICA begin their tour of India with a three-match T20 series. We asked cricket expert Josh Healey (@joshhealey04) to share his betting thoughts.
India v South Africa | T20 Series | 2nd-8th October 2015
The shortest format is one rarely contested between international sides, and India epitomise that. The T20 crazed nation has only played 55 T20Is, hosting just 10. Their record from those games is W5-L5, amounting to an underwhelming home series record of W2-D3-L3. Meanwhile, South Africa have played 80 T20Is and on the road are W24-L17, resulting in an impressive away series record of W5-D1-L3.
After a valiant World Cup campaign, India have had a mixed summer. They suffered two noticeable blips – a 1-1 T20I series draw in Zimbabwe and a 2-1 ODI series loss in Bangladesh. Incessant chopping and changing has not helped. The selectors are keen to try out the many promising youngsters but simultaneously seem clueless as to their best XI.
It’s not just the starting XI though, it’s the batting order too. Various combinations have been tested and as a result India have an unsettled order with some players not fully accustomed to, or even understanding, their roles. Although consistency does not automatically breed success, it does give players the best opportunity to thrive.
Meanwhile, South Africa were also trumped 2-1 in their ODI series in Bangladesh, but despatched them 2-0 in the T20Is. Following that they put in a satisfactory performance against New Zealand, sharing the T20Is 1-1 and claiming the ODIs 2-1 with several notable absentees.
The Proteas are much more settled with players fully understanding their roles. Of course there has been some tweaking and experimenting as is the norm post-World Cup, but they return to near full strength here with several big guns back in the mix.
Both batting line-ups are stacked with firepower but South Africa’s top six looks the more intimidating. In terms of the bowling, India have placed a huge emphasis on spin. Meanwhile, the Proteas have a more balanced attack, although their main two quicks – Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel – both miss out.
Indian conditions are not alien to the South Africa batsmen. Five of the top six ply their trade in the IPL whilst Hashim Amla’s class allows him bat anywhere in the world. Most of the bowlers are accustomed to the conditions too. India is a home away from home for many of these T20 experts and that almost nullifies the already debatable home advantage.
With the hosts a mere 4/6 and the tourists an enticing 11/8, this one’s a no brainer. I’m going with the value and backing South Africa to win the T20I series at 11/8 with Betway.
The Proteas will be bombarded with spin; if they capitulate against it then India will cruise the series, but if they play it as well as we know they can then the hosts’ bowling attack will quickly appear one-dimensional.
Although South Africa’s bowling unit is not full strength, it has enough about it to trouble India’s star-studded batting line-up. The Proteas have a finer balance of pace and spin than their hosts, giving them more options and flexibility. The tourists could well get their tour off to a winning start here.
India v South Africa – South Africa to win the series (11/8 Betway)