How the Bookies See it:
|Top England Batsman||
|Top India Batsman||
England have won seven matches in a row since losing to India in the opening game of the tournament. They finished top of the standings in the group stage after mixing some ferocious batting displays with tight bowling, but were given a huge scare in the semi-final before they beat South Africa by two wickets with just a couple of balls to spare.
India have been far more inconsistent than England, having suffered heavy defeats against South Africa and Australia in the group phase. However, when they have clicked into gear they have been scintillating, as shown in their opening win over England, the 186-run victory over New Zealand which clinched third place and the Harmanpreet Kaur-inspired triumph against Australia in the semi-finals.
India have provided some of the individual performances of the tournament, most notably Kaur’s astonishing unbeaten 171 from 115 balls against Australia in the last four. Spin bowler Rajeshwari Gayakwad also tore through the Sri Lankan and New Zealand batting line-ups, while Smriti Mandhana’s swashbuckling strokeplay caught the eye at the start of the tournament. If any of these star players find form against England, India could very well reward punters who back them to cause one final surprise at around 11/8.
However, England have improved considerably since their initial loss to India and will have learnt a lot from that match. While there have been standout performances from players such as Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Taylor and Natalie Sciver, they have not had to rely on individuals and have generally had several players standing up to the pressure. England’s bowling attack also looks balanced and they have shown great tenacity to sneak home in a couple of close encounters against Australia and South Africa.
A couple of important factors also appear to be very much in England’s favour. It is the first match of the tournament to be played at Lord’s and the unsettled weather forecast suggests there could be disruptions to play. England are far more accustomed to playing in such conditions and should justify the bookies’ faith in them at odds of around 8/15. Captain Heather Knight has been England’s leading scorer and, batting at number four on what could be a tricky wicket, looks better value to be the top batsman than any of the players above her who will have to face the newer ball.
Sports.net’s top tip:
Heather Knight to be top England batsman
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.