With no disrespect intended to Scotland and Namibia, it is hard to see them contending for the semi-finals. The same goes for Sri Lanka whose form of late has been nothing short of woeful - two wins out of 23 before the World Cup group stages - and Afghanistan who haven’t played much cricket in recent times.
After home series wins over New Zealand and Australia, Bangladesh might have looked like dark horses. A shock defeat to Scotland in their opener in Oman showed their vulnerablity, but they are still capable of providing the odd upset themselves even if reaching the last four looks beyond them.
Bangladesh, who are 60/1 with SpreadEx to win the competition, in Group 1 does make me wary of picking anyone in there for the outright market as they certainly have the potential to throw a spanner in the works, whereas Scotland and Ireland appear less likely to do so.
That said, England should reach the semi-finals with a host of matchwinners throughout the line-up. Any squad would miss Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran, but there’s a reason why Eoin Morgan’s men, who are 4/1 with BetVictor to win their first title since 2010, are ranked number one in the world.
The bookies cannot choose between Australia and West Indies as the team to join England in the semis. Preference would be for the men from the Caribbean purely on the basis of them having more players that can change the course of a game in an instant, but South Africa have a chance to upstage them both.
Looking at Group 2, India are the clear outright favourites at 9/4 with BetVictor and rightly so. All of their squad played in the recent IPL, and they have a great mix of talent and experience led by the formidable Virat Kohli. But defeat to Pakistan at the start could really throw things out of kilter.
Pakistan have not had many prep games thanks to England and New Zealand pulling out of recent tours for somewhat unconvincing reasons. They were thrashed by a second-string England side in England, and then coaches Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis stepped down just six weeks ago. It’s far from the ideal preparation.
But does that matter? They boast arguably the best T20 batter in the world in Babar Azam, the premier left-arm quick in Shaheen Afridi, and a plethora of spin options led by vice-captain Shadab Khan. On top of that, they have plenty of experience of the slow pitches in this part of the world thanks to playing years of international cricket in the UAE when Pakistan was deemed unsafe.
The perceived injustices of those cancelled tours could be the catalyst for Pakistan to show their best in this tournament. And at 7/1 with 10Bet, far more than double the price of their neighbours and bitterest rivals - they represent the value in what is sure to be a fiercely competitive event.