England and South Africa begin a three-match one-day series at Headingley on Wednesday. That gives us the opportunity to take advantage of some value on the top runscorer market where reputation comes before fact.
Hashim Amla is the 3.75 (Ladbrokes) favourite to finish as South Africa’s top runscorer. There’s nothing wrong with Amla. He is an exceptional talent and we like him a lot. He’s just the wrong jolly here.
Amla will open the batting – always the best slot to place your money because they get the most time at the crease – but his numbers don’t stack up compared to his team-mates. He averages 37 in the last 12 months at a strike rate of 89.
His opening partner is Quinton de Kock. De Kock is a different type of player to Amla. He will be much more destructive and takes more risks. He averages 46 in the last 12 months at a strike rate of 106. So he scores more runs and more quickly. De Kock gets a 4 quote from the same firms.
AB De Villiers is the second jolly by dint of the 3.75 from BetWay. Is it a poor price because he had a terribly disappointing Indian Premier League season with Royal Challengers Bangalore?
AB, regarded as the finest players in all three formats alongside India’s Virat Kohli, can be a difficult guy to take on at No 4 in the batting order. He has five runs on De Kock in average and scores his runs marginally slower.
The third option to beat Amla is Faf Du Plessis, who will bat at No 3. No South African has scored more runs than him in the last 12 months. So unsurprisingly his average is the best, too, at a whopping 65.
Du Plessis gets a 5.5 quote from BetVictor and it is arguable he should be shorter. Any of these three guys we would happily bet to take on Amla.
If we had to bet on one it would be De Kock. We love the way he blazes away at the start of an innings and he has taken a liking to England’s bowlers in the past. Over a short series, he might need only one innings to secure honours.
For England, Joe Root is as short as 3.25 (Betfred). So who is the value here on the numbers? Well, Root has by far the best average and has more runs than anyone else. But Ben Stokes could be worth a shout at 9 (Paddy Power).
It is a good price because he played three fewer games than Root so his tally looks small by comparison. But his average of 55 is healthy and he’s no 9 chance.