India are bookies’ favourite to lift World Cup

MUMBAI: India might face the monumental task of overcoming four-time champions Australia in the quarterfinal at Ahmedabad on March 24, but for bookies, MS Dhoni & Co are the runaway favourites to win the 2011 World Cup.Top betting site Ladbrokes is offering odds at 3/1 for India to lift the trophy on April 2 in Mumbai. In other words, a bet of Rs 1,000 on India will earn you a profit of Rs 3,000 if Team India justifies its billing. Another leading betting website, Williamhill, also tips the hosts to win the Cup. While India get top billing at 3/1, South Africa, at 10/3, are the next close favourites. Another betting site, www.bet365.com, gives South Africa, at 3/1, the top billing, with India only slightly behind at 10/3.

At Ladbrokes, India gets favourable odds at 8/13 to beat Australia on Thursday night, while for the Aussies, the figure is 5/4. Williamhill too tips India, at 4/6, to vanquish the Oz (6/5). South Africa, who topped Group B, the pool in which India were placed, and Sri Lanka are the other teams favoured to win the crown, says Ladbrokes. The Proteas enjoy odds of 7/2, while the Lankans are tipped at 9/2.If Ladbrokes’ estimation comes true, India are likely to meet Lanka or South Africa in the final. For both eventualities, the odds are at 5/1.As for the other quarterfinals, Shahid Afridi’s Pakistan are tipped to beat the West Indies at Mirpur. South Africa, the bettors think, should not have a problem against the Kiwis at Mirpur, while Lanka are expected to have it easy against England at Colombo.If the Cup goes the bookies’ way from here, it should be an India versus Pakistan semifinal at Mohali, with Dhoni’s boys making it to the summit clash. – TOI