Sri Lanka placed third in Twenty20 by online punters

Sept 17, 2007 (AFP) – Ricky “Punter” Ponting’s Australians are strong favourites in the online gambling world to win the ongoing Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa. Australian paceman Brett Lee, who claimed a hat-trick against Bangladesh on Sunday, remains favourite with the ball, with paddypower.com rating him at 11-1 and popular Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga at 14-1.

Australia bounced back after suffering a shock defeat against Zimbabwe to thrash England and Bangladesh and retain their place as title contenders, with British bookmaker Ladbrokes making them favourites with odds of 13-8.

Online punters have rallied behind Ponting’s men to pocket the winners’ cheque worth 2.24 million dollars.

“On paper, they (Australia) remain a dangerous side,” says website readabet.com.

Hosts South Africa are second favourites at 4-1, followed by World Cup runners-up Sri Lanka (5-1), New Zealand (8-1), and Pakistan (12-1), according to betting site boylesports.com.

British bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 14-1 on England to win the championships after they were thrashed by the Australians.

India are at 28-1 while Bangladesh, who knocked