Four of the last five World Cup top runscorers have been openers. So why would you look elsewhere for a wager?
With the opportunity to bat for longest, and to make use of the first powerplay, it is folly to look further down the order. This means 13/2 jolly Virat Kohli, as classy as he is, has to be avoided. Likewise England's Joe Root at 12s. So, who are the openers who fit the bill for a tilt at the title?
David Warner is second jolly. No thanks. We're not sure how he'll be welcomed back alongside Steve Smith but, besides, his record in England is poor. He's averaging (and that's not outs included as a completed innings) 28 in England in the last four years.
Aaron Finch has been awesome in the last two years, averaging 52. This is a rate second only to Rohit Sharma for openers. He's got good English experience, too, and doesn't falter.
Tamim is a blitzer who is rarely dull to watch. He won't die wondering and if he repeats his Champions Trophy form of 2017 the price will look big. It's important to note that, with Bangladesh guaranteed nine games, the ‘unfashionable' teams have far more live chances than before in such markets. It's hardly a mug each-way wager.
Jonny ‘Be Good' Bairstow could be about to make it to household-name territory. There is a lot to like about his hitting this summer. For a start, it's far more consistent than Jason Roy, his opening partner. On two year form, the former averages 48 runs per innings compared to the latter's 41. On home soil, Bairstow is averaging a whopping 58. If England get knocked out in the semis then Bairstow is bang in the running at that mark.
The stint in the Indian Premier League has done his confidence the power of good, not least because he often looked more fluent than Warner, something of a deity in that competition.
Rohit, on numbers, is the man to beat. He is the opener with the top average in the last two years (again, a reminder we include not outs as a completed innings). It's 54 runs per game in all conditions and 57 in England. He was second to Shikhar Dhawan on the overall run lists in the 2017 Champions Trophy. But Dhawan has struggled to match his partner's consistency.
He really should be jolly on the outright market, not least top India batsman where you can get 7/2 with Shikhar shorter than him. Obviously Kohli is jolly for both but he has to be swerved because he just won't get the same opportunities as his openers.
No batter has ever won back-to-back top runscorer honours in a World Cup. Marty Guptill will give it a darn good try, though. He is, in short, a bit of a flat-track bully. But that's fine on a lot of the wickets for this tournament. His issue may be getting full value for his shots. The grounds back home are tighter than in England so on occasion he might come up short.
Pakistan – Imam 40/1, Fakhar 33/1
What a player Imam is. He is compact, aggressive and has a classy touch to his strokeplay which gives a warm, fuzzy feeling. There's also something to be said for him that he chooses to wear spectacles at the crease.
The next best thing about Imam is that he is the nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq. That's where he gets the easy-on-the-eye strokeplay from. But he sure as hell doesn't get his competitiveness or athleticism from the old stager.
Imam, praise be, is underrated. We would have thought that the pricemakers would have woken up to his ability by now. They haven't. This despite us wittering on about how he should be 5/4 for individual innings honours instead of 7/2. We've won on him twice already this summer.
An each-way price of 40/1 (first four cops) with Sportsbook looks a terrific wager. But we're also advising that the 7/2 that he finishes as top Pakistan bat is snaffled. Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman (a terrific player) should not be ahead of him in the betting.
His fitness is a concern after an injury in game four. And wait for the news on its longevity before parting.
There's nothing wrong with spending a few pence on these two. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla have contrasting styles but they compliment each other perfectly. De Kock averages an excellent 49 over the last two years while Amla's mark of 51 in England suggests he has been significantly underrated.
This is a last hurrah for Gayle and it is tough to consider him here. The game has moved on and it's just not possible to be in contention when one is labouring for the quick ones and twos. Lewis is a dangerous hitter but with a career average of 32 runs per innings he is going to have to go some to break into the top echelon. But who knows? He could well take apart a Sri Lanka or Bangladesh attack.
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