London, Jun 2: The bookies have tipped India to win the T20 World Cup in England and also tipped three Indian batsmen to be among the top five in the tournament.
Will history repeat itself? Almost two years ago, MS Dhoni and his men did the unthinkable by winning the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. Two years later, they start as the bookies’ favourites to win the Cup again.
Ladbrokes, the English betting agency, is tipping India to emerge as champions again. Three Indian batsmen figure among the five Ladbrokes thinks are most likely to score the most runs. Gautam Gambhir, despite failing to sizzle in IPL, is tipped to be the highest run scorer in the tournament. Gambhir was the highest run-getter for India in the first edition of the Cup.
Suresh Raina is third on the list after South African captain Graeme Smith while Virender Sehwag is fifth. Indian skipper MS Dhoni is 21st on the list.
In comparison, Indian bowlers have failed to catch the fancy of the bookies. RP Singh, the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2, is fifth on the list while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is ninth.
It's a similar scenario for South Africa. Besides Smith, AB de Villiers (4th), Herschelle Gibbs (7th) and JP Duminy (8th) figure among the top 10 batsmen. Paceman Dale Steyn is expected to be the second highest wicket-taker after Umar Gul of Pakistan. As for Australia, none of their batsmen are among the top 10. Skipper Ricky Ponting is expected to be the 11th highest scorer in the tournament. Among their bowlers, Brett Lee is 6th, Mitchell Johnson 10th and Nathan Bracken 11th on the list.
In contrast to India, two other sub-continental teams - Sri Lanka and Pakistan - are banking on their bowling attack to win the Cup, at least that's what the bookies feel. Besides the top billing for Gul, Ladbrokes has put Shahid Afridi in the 12th spot and Sohail Tanvir in the 13th. Pakistani batsmen don't figure in the bookies' list of top players.
Similarly, Sri Lanka have three bowlers in the top 10 list while their skipper is the lone batsman in top 10.
Wiliam Hill, another betting agency, predicts an India-Australia final while Ladbrokes has its odds on an India-South Africa clash. Even the Indian bookies are predicting a final match between India and South Africa. The last T20 final took place between India and Pakistan.
Ladbrokes is also predicting a semi-final berth for Australia and Pakistan. Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand and West Indies are other teams expected to be in Super 8.