Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3rd and Final Test NZ vs Eng - 22nd to 26th March,2013

Before this match, the NZ captain Brendon McCullum publicly talked about winning this test for a historic series win for New Zealand. More importantly, he specifically said that NZ didn't play to draw the test matches. And when time came, he did just the opposite. He did everything to play for a draw, rather than a win, and in the process he snatched a draw from the jaws of an historic series victory for his country. Another clear evidence that extraneous considerations, unknown to the common public, ruled the international cricket and cricketers, and country's or team's honour were no issues even remotely.

Put into bat by Eng, resuming from 250/1, NZ were all out for 443 on the 2nd day, the day ending with Eng at 50/2. An hour into the third day, by the first drinks break, Eng were 72/5. 101 runs sixth wicket partnership followed before Eng were all out for 204, trailing by 239 runs still. If you are looking for a win and not for a draw, what would you do. You would force the follow-on. You may not do so only if you feel pretty sure of adding some quick fire 150-200 runs and then having sufficient time and resources to bundle out the opposite team under added pressure.

Playing for a historic win, McCullum didn't enforce the follow-on, and batting second time NZ themselves came under pressure at 8/3. However they recovered and recovered well. But lo! McCullum doesn't declare till lead is 480, and that too he is forced to in a way since no batsman was padded up when NZ lost their 6th wicket, so the commentators tell me. That is just absurd from a captain who uttered before the match as mentioned above. Still no one in NZ would have had any complaints when the 4th day ended with Eng at 90/4, NZ being hot favourites to win the test with odds at 1.28.

With partnerships and wickets falling alternately, the odds kept on fluctuating on the final day, but during such time when Indian/Asian illegal market would mostly have been closed (being night/early morning there). The 7th wicket partnership between Bell and Prior was taking the match away from NZ when Bell's wicket at the stroke of tea swung the match again NZ way, or so it seemed. 

The 8th wicket partnership between Prior and Broad had almost ensured a draw with odds for draw being as low as 1.04, when 2 quick wickets fell dramatically in the 4th over before close. Broad went first and Anderson followed him playing a similar shot to get out. It would be interesting for one to see Anderson playing the shot. Clearly he angled the bat on purpose to get caught out in the slips. Some time before this drama, the Asian market would have come into being. And punters who must have placed huge bets backing  draw at low odds as that had appeared a certainty, must have found themselves trapped now. The fixers must have made a killing with high margins and frantic betting by punters during those last 3 overs, as explained in the book 'Inside The Boundary Line.' 

One more small thing. Monty Panesar, no. 11 English batsman, is to face the last over. Why is it not even tried to york him with an in-swinger/out-swinger, the way Md Irfan bowled Ingram out the other day. Sorry. Forgot, such questions could be asked only when cricket was being played, not when it was being staged.  

So in the final analysis McCullum looks like a big ass. But who bothers, that is New Zealand, and he would still be playing for NZ and captaining it. Such a thing would hardly be scripted for India in India.

But there is a method to this seeming madness by McCullum of not enforcing the follow-on. Had follow-on been enforced, it would have been an easy affair for the punters, at least for some time before fixers could again render it complicated. And that would have had a huge bearing on the odds, as must have not suited the fixers.

Some of above may be said to be only theories. Right, even though same could be quite logical. But the facts, not enforcing follow-on and absurd delay in declaration by NZ captain, some shots played, and balls bowled, are the real things, no theories - needing an explanation. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

5th and final ODI- SA vs PAK - 24/3/13

The pendulum swung again, SA crushing Pakistan, or rather Pak getting crushed by SA. Same old story. Movement of odds clearly indicating what was to come. Starting odds in f/o SA being about 1.64, came down to 1.52 at fall of first wicket at 11/1, and inexplicably to 1.36 at 26/1 in 7.4 overs. Not inexplicably, as the next wicket was to fall soon at 31 in the tenth over, a wicket maiden. It took care of the 10 overs session scoring as well, such that the session score stayed put at lesser than the minimum on offer during this session, as explained earlier.

And at 35/2 in 10.5 overs, the odds hadn't fallen much at 1.33. Was a good partnership in the offing? It surely was, the next wicket falling at 97.

While viewing matches, sometimes I have come across the fielding side not appealing or just making half a shout when it appeared to be a very close call. And very interestingly, the broadcaster also doesn't show the replays on such occasions. Such a thing happened when Tsotsobe bowled the first ball of the 23rd over to Kamran Akmal. Without benefit of replay, I couldn't be sure, but it did appear to be a close call to me.

As soon as the odds in f/o SA touched the starting odds at 97/2 (still being less than what should have been),  another wicket fell and the odds never again recovered enough to reach the starting odds. And Pak lost two quick wickets in the 35th over, just before batting power play was to start, to tighten the noose round its neck. Shahid Afridi again got duck out when it mattered and when a good innings from him, with batting power play a few balls away, could have helped his team a lot. Afridi getting out at that juncture, in the manner he did, may appear inexplicable and unpardonable to many, but not to Pak officials and those who matter.

In the 40th over, with score at 162/7, Saeed Ajmal tried to get himself run-out but the fielder couldn.t hit the stumps. Ajmal got himself out bowled, the very next ball.

And while fielding to defend a meager 204, Pak allowed Villiers cat's nine lives to enable him to complete their annihilation.

Aus vs Ind 4th test ending 24/3/13 and the series

During lunch break on the 3rd day, with Aus leading by 79 at 89/5, Shane Warne, the expert analyst, tells the TV viewers, without any ambiguity, that Aus needed a total lead of 150 runs to win the match, and a target of 130 plus will be very difficult to chase (for India in their 2nd innings). Soon Gavaskar, the commentator also tells that Border was mentioning 120 to be a stiff target. From the beginning every one has been telling that the pitch would be almost unplayable on the third day. 

On such a pitch, again top Australian batting couldn't stand the lethal Indian bowling to be 53/5, but its tailenders are able to pile up some runs yet again to extend the lead to 154, a sure winning one as per Shane Warne, the expert. But bookies think (or should it be 'know') otherwise and odds in f/o of Ind winning at this stage are just 1.18 or so, going down to 1.09 before the first wicket falls at 19. Jump up to 1.15 briefly before boundaries get hit at will and soon there are no or negligible odds available for backing India. Same old story of bookies knowing what was to come, and experts going absurdly wrong.

No doubt, the pitch was a difficult one and had become more unplayable by the third day. Then how come, by no means a mean Australian bowling attack, couldn't even trouble Indian batting, let alone taking wickets. Was it great Indian batting or suicidal and self-defeating bowling by the Australians. See the recordings and know for yourself.

Umpiring in this match and series needs a special mention. The umpires, both of them, erred not once, but many times over. And every time I saw them erring, it was to favour India. That would be too big a coincidence to give them  benefit of doubt and believe that their mistakes were natural. Indian batsmen were not given out when they were plumb lbw (Tendulkar in the first innings with score at 120/2 or so needs a special mention), and Aus batsmen were being given out even when ball was clearly missing the stumps (special mention- Hughes in the 2nd innings). So when the Australians themselves were not throwing their wickets, the umpires were sending them back to pavilion. Were umpires in this match and series a part of the fixers' syndicate, as mentioned in the book 'Inside The Boundary Line'?

One would ask if everything could be staged, why the umpiring mistakes? Batsmen could genuinely get themselves out. Answer lies in balancing the things and making things look natural. More importantly, Australians or others could then attribute their abysmal performance to umpiring errors also. 

Mentioning of correlation between odds and fixing in this match from the start, with Aus batting first on a pitch proclaimed by all and sundry to be a fast deteriorating three day pitch, India were top favourites with odds of 2.04 even when Aus were a very healthy 71/1. This is what was being told about the pitch from the beginning (an article in The Statesman): 

   ‘Three-day pitch’ 
NEW DELHI, 22 MARCH:The Feroz Shah Kotla pitch for the fourth and final Test between India and Australia today came under criticism from former players, who called it a “three-day” wicket. The pitch has cracks across it, making for prodigious lateral movement. While some balls kept low, others rose sharply after pitching. VVS Laxman, here as a commentator, said that it was “looking like a third-day pitch” and batting would prove increasingly difficult on it. Ravi Shastri, on the telly with his pitch report before the start of play, said that the Test might be a “three-day” affair. Rameez Raja, though, said: “Earlier, it looked like a three-day wicket to me but ... it would be too early to predict the nature of the pitch. There are cracks, which will yield good turn. We need to wait and see before commenting on its nature.” There were times when Australian batsmen found shot-making difficult. sns & agencies. 

From there on Aus hardly competed in the match, except when they restricted Indian lead to just 10 runs in the first innings. Even at that point, with India having to bat last, Ind were favourites with odds of just 1.6. And it didn't take Aus long to start losing wickets in the 2nd innings.

Another interesting chance observation. While Ind were about to complete the last rites of Australia, inspite of losing three quick wickets (to add to dramatic effect, and to make the final victory margin look less imposing), at 129/4, a nick off Dhoni's bat went straight into the gloves of the wicket-keeper, Wade, and Wade threw it out just as Dhoni had done once to a nick off Dilshan's bat as stated earlier. Clearly it was an unscripted nick, and Wade had to throw it down.

And the best Aussie batsman in this match, Peter Siddle, chose to get out just after completing 50 in both the innings. A coincidence? Not so, as the book already has an explanation for such a phenomenon. 

The scripting for the series as a whole was quite consistent. It was balanced for the Indians such that all the batsmen and bowlers contributed handsomely at some or other point, except for the old war horses Tendulkar and Harbhajan, one may say. Special roles were reserved for the Captain Dhoni, Pujara, Dhawan, Jadeja, and Ashwin. And all the Aus batsmen and bowlers were scripted to flop, except for Clarke  and Lyon, one may say. Consistently long Indian partnerships of 200 plus or so were scripted throughout the series to turn the matches in f/o India. 

Camouflage of suspension of Australian players was thrown in, to justify team selection meant for losing the 3rd consecutive match with Clarke as captain. Without going into the complexities of betting odds, it should be clear to any keen student of cricket that Australia played to lose the series 0-4 and lost it 0-4. I heard commentators saying that more than win or loss, the non-Australian like performance by Australia throughout was puzzling. There is nothing puzzling. It was necessary for Australia to lose the series with an historic margin of 0-4, as had been pre-decided by all concerned.

Monday, March 25, 2013

First ODI SL vs BD - 23/3/13

The odds before start of match were 1.2 in f/o SL. So, as usual the odds tell what was going to be the result of the match and how one sided it was going to be in the end, though to viewers and experts, initially and /or during the course of the match, it may appear that there was going to be a keen competitive match on hand. Bangladesh had more than competed in one of the last two Tests and had done very well in ODI's in the last Asia Cup, to reach the finals over India and SL. So how the odds of 1.2 would be justified, I would love some expert to explain to me. 

With such odds on offer, the tendency of a majority of punters would be to back the weaker team first, hoping for an opportunity sometime during the course of the match to cover their potential losses and get into a win-win position. This is because the chasm in the odds doesn't match the difference in the potential of the teams, as above, and/or odds are so low in f/o the stronger team that backing it would always appear a risky proposition to a punter. And it is not that the opportunity punters are looking for never comes. When such opportunity comes (sometimes it hardly comes or doesn't come at all), there are two things that happen. One, the odds on offer for the stronger team, though improved from initial position, look absurdly low to back it given that particular position/stage of the match. Two, such an opportunity, when it comes, mostly comes for a small duration or a fleeting moment, such that, more often than not, one fails to en-cash this opportunity. Not only that, many a punter would increase his/her potential loss backing the weak team in view of the odds on offer vis-a-vis the situation of the match, as mentioned above. The fixers and the script-writers understand, they have to, all this too well. That's why, then, suddenly the potentially stronger team will come back into its elements, or the potentially weaker team would commit the harakiri, to give no chance to the poor punters (backing the weak team) to cover their losses.

The scripts of the matches between two seemingly unequal teams and the odds on offer are invariably (some exceptions would always be there) governed by the above principle/s. Application by the fixers, and the occurrence, of the same principle/s again and again won't be possible if cricket were natural. One would have come across aberrations many times over, from a set principle, in a naturally uncertain game of cricket.

I clarify the above with the help of this game and some other recent games. Bangladesh batted first and scored 259/8 in 50 overs. During their innings, the commentators, one after another, and repeatedly, had been telling that 240 would be a very good score on this pitch, and that highest score successfully chased ever had been 211 ( if I remember correctly). And BD, by no means, had a poor bowling attack, their bowling having not done badly even in the 2nd Test they lost (it was their batting that had failed). Still at the end of BD innings, the odds in f/o SL were just about 1.36. That may not be so grossly unjustified when compared with the starting odds, but just after start of  the SL innings, with their stiffer revised target of 238 in 41 overs, the odds were even fractionally less at 1.35, with 4 off the first ball. The second over yielded 19 runs and with continuous steep fall, in no time, by the 10th over or so, the odds had come down to around 1.04, never looking up again. The bookies knew, and the experts didn't, what was to happen in the match.

To emphasize the point again, inspired or guided by the commentators' words, the punters would have expected BD to come to a stronger position, at least at some point of time during the SL innings, but would have found themselves trapped as the match progressed. Suppose you are not a punter but just a cricket enthusiast. Expecting a keen competitive game, even you would have felt bad, and may be cheated as well. This is what the staged cricket and manipulated commentators/experts do to the punters and the real cricket enthusiasts alike.

The matches between WI and ZIM also were scripted on the same principle/s. In both the tests, ZIM did well briefly up to lunch time or before on the first day, before its batsmen continued with the harakiri throughout the rest of the matches. And in the limited overs matches, when one would expect even lesser teams to be competitive, I don't remember if ZIM competed even briefly in any of those matches, at least nothing worth remembering. (Are you thinking of telling me how one can expect ZIM to compete, that too against WI? If so, I would remind you that it was in a T20 World Cup match that ZIM had beaten Aus, courtesy batting of same Taylor who lost form for this WI tour. And in test matches, not too long ago, this very ZIM had posted large totals against no inferior Pak bowling attack (if my memory serves me right)).

The recent two test matches between SA and NZ, with absurdly low starting odds for a test match at about 1.25 in f/o SA, followed the same principle/s, with odds hardly ever looking up from the starting odds. Same NZ that was to dominate the 3 test series against much higher ranking England not much later. And scripting and odd management of  the last SA-PAK test series also was not much different.

One may say, "But for SL-BD test series these principles were not followed." Right. As it has also been explained in the book, nothing is followed 100%. I have tried to show above, how particular principles are followed in a majority of matches between  two teams perceived to be more unequal, and how repeated occurrence of these principles does indicate staged cricket. In the matches that don't follow these principles, different ways and means are implemented to be-fool the punters. And as said in the book, it doesn't matter, rather serves fixers' purpose, if in odd matches the punters are able to make money. And if in odd matches, the weak teams don't do well, why would anyone ever back them?

Coming back to the match at hand, BD scored 57/1 in first ten overs, and 82/3 in 20 overs, having been 63/3 in 12.5 overs and 78/3 in 18 overs. This is how session scoring was manipulated, 1 run being scored off the last ball in the 20th over. That would mean 10-20 over session scoring was manipulated (in same way   as has been shown to have been done in another match earlier by me) such that the score at the end of the session was less than the minimum on offer any time during the session.

Another interesting session scoring. Now a days, there are different sessions between 30-35 overs and 35-40 overs. At the end of 35 overs, BD were 148/4, the 4th wicket having fallen well back in the 29th over. That would mean, two well set, and known good hitters and brisk scorers, batsmen were on the crease. And yet they scored a meager 21 runs in the 5 overs of batting power play (with field restrictions favouring batsmen) without losing any wicket. Against same bowling attack, they piled 90 runs in the next ten overs, with wickets falling at regular intervals (the set dangerous Tamim Iqbal's wilful run-out after scoring a century included). One could say that it was their strategy. It sure was strategy for the fixers to mint money (through the actors) both in 35-40 overs and 40-50 overs sessions.

And how do odds vary? With 1.32 at 204/4 in 43.3 overs, the odds move up to only 1.36 or 1.35 with further 55 runs scored in next 6.3 overs, achieving a formidable total of 259 (as told by the experts and the commentators).

One may easily come across such things match after match, involving all the teams and all the cricketers.

Friday, March 22, 2013

4th ODI SA vs PAK - 21/3/13

Another 180 degree swing as far as result was concerned. But otherwise a more balanced and competitive script. Had to be, after 3-4 one sided scripts at a trot. May appear to be a normal match to an average viewer, notwithstanding SA losing 2 wickets off first 2 balls of the match, notwithstanding Pakistan making a heavy weather in the end when almost at the goal post. 

Wondered if Md Irfan could bowl the yorker he bowled to bowl out Ingram, why could he not bowl such balls during the Test series or again in this match or earlier in other matches. That would apply to almost all the bowlers who come out with lethal deliveries once in a blue moon and then forget all about it. 

South Africa restricted to 234 in 50 overs, a score much below par, specially considering high scoring by both  the teams in the previous matches and still odds in f/o Pak being as high as 1.75, it was imperative there would be some quick Pak wickets at the start, and it was so, starting with  a dramatic run out of Md Hafeez yet again. Match swung from one team to the other and so did the odds, to trap the punters who would not have been expecting such swings at all, with the last one-sided ODI's between these teams etched in their memory.

The subtle controlling of session scoring continued throughout, the first ten over session of Pak batting being similar to first session of SA batting in the last ODI.

During SA innings, there was not such steep fall in SA odds with runs being scored, as was in the last ODI. Of course, the odd-deciders knew the difference that was going to be in the subsequent plays and the end results!

ZIM vs WI 2nd test ending 22/3/2013

Overall a repeat script of the first test match between the two sides. More or less, the scripts are being repeated round the globe, except for the Test match series between SLand Ban, and ODI series between Pak and SA. Remains to be seen whether scripts undergo a change in the final tests between NZ vs Eng, and Ind vs Aus, or continue on the beaten track. 

Not much to write about this match except for the fact that one should see how the Zimbabwean batsmen threw their wickets to justify the book-makers' odds. Sibanda in the first innings being exemplary. Masakadza tried to be out caught but ball landed away from the fielder. He got himself bowled out not many balls later. Then Taylor was criticised by the commentators also for his dismissal. As soon as Waller played the shot, it was obvious he was trying to be caught out and he succeeded. I didn't view all the batsmen getting out, but some here and there. Not much different in the 2nd innings, though might have not been that obvious. Masakadza gloving the ball and Taylor getting out only were viewed live by me. May catch up with other dismissals sometime through repeat telecast of highlights.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2nd and final Test between SL and Bangladesh ending on 19/3/13

Bangladesh batted beyond anyone's weirdest dreams against SL in SL in the first test to have scored 638 and 70/1 in the two innings respectively, making majority of the punters, having backed hot favourites SL, lose their money. 

And having shown such form with batting in the first test, they again made punters lose their money in the 2nd Test by performing abysmally with the bat in this match. 

While batting 2nd and being in a very precarious position at 202/6, with Sohab Gazi scoring well, why should he (Gazi) play a lofted shot willingly straight to a fielder in the deep, or in that direction or area where a fielder was lurking? How can one be allowed to do harakiri when playing for a nation? And if one does so, why is he not kicked out of the team for good? Such is not an isolated case. From the recordings of the matches in all formats and all countries, one will come across hundreds of Ghazis. Players doing harakiri and yet being continued with and honoured! Why? Why not if what they did was as per the direction given to them as per the script?

Another interesting giveaway of fixers came to notice. The odds at betfair on fall of Gazi's wicket were 1.06 in f/o SL, With other 10 to 15 runs scored, the odds increased to 1.08. Fine. When 10 or so more runs were scored, I was surprised to see odds falling back to 1.06. Is next wicket going to fall, I wondered? And sure enough, almost immediately the big wicket of Bangladeshi captain Mushfiqur Rahim (the double century scorer of the first test) fell at 228.

NZ vs ENG 2nd Test

No play on the last two days due to rain, and the match ended in a draw. But in all probability, not before money for the fixers, as following on the first innings, NZ lost two wickets to be 81/2 well before the closing time on the third day, making an English win look imminent and thus make punters back England. Punters would have no way of knowing that there won't be any play on the 4th and the 5th days. No further fall of any wicket must have left punters having backed England (and there must have been a large majority of them because of odds on offer) high and dry.

In both the tests so far between them, the teams that crumbled in the first innings batted superbly/much better in the 2nd innings, a thing generally not expected in test matches. Teams are expected to do better in batting in the first innings.

Monday, March 18, 2013

14th to 18th Mar, 2013 - 3rd Test Ind vs Aus

Ah! Cricket - the game of glorious uncertainties! Another test match between these two countries that defies cricket and cricketing logic if there is supposed to be something like that. And if there is not supposed to be anything called cricketing logic, what for, round the clock, round the globe, round the media channels, analysis by experts and non-experts of various origins? 

I skip over the camouflage created before start of the game through suspension of four Australian players. 

First day washed out through rain. The loss of time made up partly through half an hour early start in remaining 4 days. Australia wins the toss and bats first. They score a very good 408 in 142 overs at rate of less than 3 runs an over, on a pitch not considered easy. A high score and a good time consumed. Virender Sehwag (a known potential to turn a test match by scoring fast) is not in the Indian team. Who could think of an Indian win being possible? Enter the script-writers for the match and Australia had virtually lost the match well before lunch on the final day (odds in f/o India coming down to as low as 1.05). 

Script of the match could have shamed the best fantasy-writers. Not that there have not been such fantastic scripts in the past in international cricket. Remember England-Ireland match in the last World Cup? Coming back to this match. In their first innings, India scored 283/0 in 58 overs by the end of 3rd day's play. Australians had forgotten how to bowl, same way or not same way as they forgot while bowling to SA defending a score of 400 plus in an ODI and losing it a few years ago. It was laughable when same bowling attack was being praised by the commentators (stalwarts among them) when to create unnecessary drama (and increased heart-beats among the punters leading them to make mistakes ) the Indians chose to play some dot balls when match was all over bar the shouting. 

Anyway, at day's end the Australian bowlers must have been given some pills by the team physicians such that their memory came back overnight and they bowled India out for 499 the next day before Aus themselves ending the day at a precarious 75/3. Not so precarious, as with lead almost wiped out and 7 wickets still in hand, with only one day remaining, the match could well be drawn. But now it was turn of Australian batsmen to forget batting at crucial stages. And with 143/8  well before lunch, the writing was on the wall. Still with all the strings in fixers' hands, a lot of drama was created before India finally won in the dying moments of the match. The punters were kept guessing and made losing through wild swings in the odds a number of times during the day. 

A match where one can see and sense a joke being made of cricket simply by watching the match, without having to go into details of betting odds. Some Australian media had reported loss of 2nd Test by Australia as death of  Australian cricket. Though this loss might have further confirmed that to the Australians, but cricket itself has already died long ago.

Third ODI between PAK and SA - 17/3/13

So it was another 180 degree swing, contrary to my guess. But a good match to show fixing much more clearly. 

The book 'Inside The Boundary Line' talks a lot about session betting. Let us see how the session fixing manifests itself. SA batted first, or rather Pak fielded first as they had won the toss. The first session or bracket was for first 10 overs. After first ten overs SA were 26 for 1, though they had clearly been scripted to win (an interesting give away by fixers as shown subsequently). Let us say, session score on offer was 44-45 or 45-46, or x,x+1 to start with. Throughout this session, scoring got so regulated that the score on offer never crossed what was offered initially. The early exit of Smith further helped. With continuous slow scoring, the score on offer went on decreasing steadily during this session. True there were odd boundaries in between, resulting in a slight jump in score on offer very temporarily, but didn't matter in the final session outcome. The final score of 26 was such that it remained less than the minimum score on offer at any point of time during this session. This got ensured through final 8 or 9 balls of the session being dot balls (10th over being maiden) inspite of a boundary having been hit in the 9th over. For such manipulation of scoring, it is imperative that ball to ball, or almost ball to ball is prescripted and the script is executed accordingly.

Now let it be known that this type of scoring pattern, within a range of specific overs specified by the bookies (illegal?), is not a one-off phenomenon happening once in ages. This gets repeated quite often, one can easily see/find from recordings of T20's (IPL, BPL, SLPL, Big-Bash, Friends' T20, Champions League, or international T20's - bilateral or world cup), or 40 overs a side matches in England, or ODI's, or Test Matches having been played for honour of countries. And all cricketers, without exception, can be seen to be in action repeatedly during such sessions. It may be interesting for ICC to find out what will be the probability of such scoring patterns happening as explained in above para, if natural cricket was played.

That's not all. The next session of up to 20 overs went the other way, in keeping with how the overall match was to progress. For most of the session scoring continued such that score on offer always or almost always must have remained above x+1, the initial score on offer, and also the score at end of 20 overs at 92 (for 2) was higher than the maximum score on offer at any point of time during this session. One can come across number of repeats of this type also from recordings. Again it may be interesting to find out the probability of such scoring patterns happening naturally.

Manipulation of session scoring as above would trap the punters indulging in session betting, as once having made wrong moves they won't find any escape route and would tend to make more wrong moves. And those having made initial right move would tend to square that up subsequently in order to be safe, and in anticipation of gain both ways if the session score finally is between minimum and maximum on offer during that particular session. Though it may happen so once a while, but generally or mostly it doesn't happen so as illustrated above. I am sure the probability of session scoring happening as it does would be a few hundredth if natural cricket were played.

It is as simple to understand that men's international cricket is nothing but staged drama, and has been so for years. But it appears that human race is incapable/unwilling of seeing/accepting simple truths.

In short and very simply, session betting could not have existed if cricket was not staged/fixed. Continuous existence of session betting itself is proof enough of continuous staged cricket. Both have to co-exist. Anyone having sufficient understanding of session betting and having some common-sense would vouch for this. 

The movement of odds in this match also was very interesting and a clear give away of fixing. The starting odds were about 1.58 in f/o SA as in earlier ODI's. With very slow scoring at the start, even before fall of Smith's wicket, the odds had risen to about 1.70. So far so good. But with fall of Smith's wicket, a big wicket at that, the odds rose only to 1.75. Simply inexplicable. Should have gone up to at least 2.00 (even money)! Not only that, even with subsequent scoring at a crawl, the odds didn't increase further, rather kept on coming down such that with score of a meager 26 for 1 at the end of 10 overs, the odds were back to about 1.6 in f/o SA. Though the same should have been less than even money (2.00) in f/o Pak. Out and out inexplicable, but for simple explanation that bookies/fixers knew what was going to happen. The odds further went down in f/o SA with further scoring, to rise again to be just 1.77 in f/o SA when score was 42/2 in 14 overs. Logic would have demanded odds to have been maximum 1.75 to 1.8 in f/o Pak at such a stage of the game. The odds again came down very fast from having been 1.77 in f/o SA for a very brief moment. And surely a record 3rd wicket partnership for SA followed, SA scoring a massive 343 in their 50 overs, batting Pak out of the match.

Not going into much details, it should suffice to mention further that even with Pak score of 97/1 in the 17th over while chasing, the odds in f/o SA were only 1.2, match virtually ending after fall of 2nd wicket, Afridi's brisk 88 amounting to nothing. A point to ponder. Why should Afridi not have been sent in after fall of first or second wicket, with such a massive score to chase? Had he been sent in then and had he started scoring as he did, there would have to be an appreciable jump in odds, which couldn't be allowed. So Afridi comes in after match is virtually over. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

SA vs PAK 2nd ODI on 15/3/13

Another 180 degree turnaround in performance of the two teams. So the script was written. But not before the match had gone the same way as the last ODI between these two till first 4 overs. The odds in f/o SA coming down from about 1.56 to 1.38, as a result of continuing brisk scoring by SA. And then the sudden turnaround, giving no chance to punters backing SA to control their losses or square up their positions. There must have been an overwhelming majority of them, with the impression of last ODI between the two sides fresh in their mind.

 And thereafter Pak maintained its supremacy throughout. An example of how scripts were similar to last script/s up to a point and then suddenly turned around to leave punters high and dry, as mentioned in the book 'Inside the boundary Line.'

Would next ODI be another 180 degree swing? I hope not. But it is just a guess. Also may not be one-sided through and through. All this is besides the point.

Opportunity to clarify something more. Before SA innings ended prematurely at 191, when expected score was around 205, the odds were about 1.48 in f/o Pak. SA innings folding at 191, the odds at start of Pak batting should have been around 1.42, at best. But even after first boundary was hit early in the Pak innings, the odds were 1.52 or so in f/o Pak. This is what I call fixers' bluff, necessary once a while, so that one can never be sure of anything, as mentioned in the book. One could have expected/suspected some quick wickets or so for the match turning at least once in f/o SA, but nothing of the sort happened, at least odds hardly ever crossing 1.52 or 1.55 in f/o Pak during their innings.

Also it is not always that 180 degree swing takes place between two consecutive matches between two teams. So one can't be sure to expect so either.

As the book says, the fixers are the proverbial spiders and the punters, the proverbial spies, howsoever smart they could be.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

WI vs ZIM First Test 12/3/13 to 14/3/13

The match ended in just over two days and the pre-match favourites WI won comfortably. Nothing to complain, though Zim captain Taylor, who was batting so well in BPL a few days back, forgetting batting on this tour of WI, may make one raise eye-brows. But in international cricket, one may always so easily lose form or gain/regain form, at one's whims. 

Let us see something more concrete. Before start of match, odds in f/o WI were a meager 1.22 or so. At the end of first day's play WI were 18/2 in reply to 211 scored by Zim, with odds of about 1.1. With a strong batting line-up comprising Gayle, Darren Bravo, Samuels, and Chanderpaul still there, probably this could be justified. When Gayle fell at 81 for 4, the odds were almost same at about 90/4. Being 1.1 at fall of Gayle's wicket. And remained same with further 50 runs scored! Not able to think of any rational in cricketing terms, With fall of 5th wicket at 144, the odds were 1.12, rising to 1.13 just before fall of 6th wicket. With Chanderpaul gone at 151 for 6, the odds rightly shot up to 1.19 or 1.20. But very briefly. Just 10 more runs scored, and the odds came down to 1.14. Incongruous both in relative and absolute terms. With all illustrious batsmen of WI back in the hut and WI having to bat last on a deteriorating pitch.

Surely, the biggest partnership of the match, a match-clinching one, was to follow for the 7th wicket between Ramdin and Sammy, and Zim were to lose badly without coming into reckoning thereafter at any stage.

Certainly cricket is the game of glorious uncertainties. For the public. But a game of glorious certainties for the fixers and/or bookies.    

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Fixing Analysis

Here is the fixing analysis of the first ODI between SA and Pak held on 10/3/2013.

It was the first limited overs match between the two teams after the T20 match held on 3rd Mar, 2013. In that match, SA were thrashed by Pak in a one sided affair. Pak batting first had scored 195, and chasing, SA were bundled out for 100 in 12.2 overs.

Now in this match, Pak won the toss and elected to field. SA started cautiously but started scoring freely from 4th over onwards (something to do with session betting as well, but I shall not discuss that here). The odds increased very slightly in f/o SA, up to about 1.75 in those first 3 overs (nothing wrong with that), and went on decreasing thereafter, being about 1.5 even after loss of first wicket. After quick loss of 2nd wicket, odds in f/o SA must have shot up a bit, but after quick addition of further 30-40 runs, same came back to about 1.5. Nothing much wrong, as with the score then, a score of around 300 plus in 50 overs was on the cards.

But with the score at 271/4 at the end of 47 overs, innings score of even 300 not being in sight (SA had lost a wicket in the 47th over and scoring momentum in last 5-6 overs, in fact after 40th over had been slow), the odds in f/o SA stood at about 1.18. And SA scored 44 runs in last 3 overs of their innings (something to do with session betting also). The odds at the end of the innings were about 1.15. A clear indication that inspite of their superb batting display in last T20 against almost same/similar bowling attack, inspite of Pak fielding a strong batting line up, inspite of commentators saying that pitch was good for batting and that a close finish was on the cards, Pak were going to lose this match in a no-contest. And it happened so.

315 in 50 overs is not considered an insurmountable total now a days, though by all means it put the team posting the total first in an advantageous/winning position. There was no Steyn or Philander or Morkel in SA bowling attack, and Pak did have a strong batting line up. In past, in such situations, the odds have been as high as 1.5 in f/o team having batted first, and if my memory serves me right, on such an occasion the team batting 2nd not only competed well, but also chased successfully.

With Pak at 42/0 at the end of 7th over, considering everything, from cricketing angle, it was an even contest. But the odds in f/o SA were a meager 1.33 or thereabout. What would any unsuspecting punter at that stage do? He/she, 99 out of 100 (unsuspecting i.e. who are not aware that it is staged cricket), would place bets as per his/her capacity backing Pak for a net return of about $ 3 for every  $ wagered.

Then first, the first wicket was gifted, and soon after, the second wicket fell as a result of scripting ingenuity (though whether Hafiz was given out rightly also remains debatable). The third wicket also fell soon, and even after a partnership of 49 runs in 58 balls, the two stalwarts getting set, the odds in f/o SA remained about 1.07 only, just before the fourth wicket fell. Wickets continued to tumble, even though Shahid Afridi hitting some lusty shots for public consumption, such that the odds never went beyond 1.05 thereafter. Pak, who had scored 195 in last T20, were all out for 190 in 36.2 overs. The commentators had no problems in justifying this capitulation by Pak as a result of batting against score-board pressure.

What I would like one to understand from above is that the Pak innings was so scripted that the odds in f/o SA remained well below 1.10 from 12th over onward.

Now, why it was done so and how the fixers would have gained? To start with, the punters (unsuspecting) would have expected Pak to do well after their showing in the last T20 (and in that T20, no one even in dreams would have expected Pak to do as well and SA to do as poorly as they did after their performances in the preceding Test series). And they must have hoped them to come back and compete, throughout, even when chips were down. The odds on offer remained quite tempting to back Pak for most of the match, especially in initial overs of Pak batting, as mentioned above. Most of the unsuspecting punters, thus, would have lost in this match, never getting opportunity to square their position in one-sided affair. Must have meant wind-fall for the fixers.

Some can say, and many would say ‘bosh and non-sense, how could run-out of Hafiz be pre-scripted?’ Why not? There could always be pre-scripting to try it, and if not successful there could always be plan B for Hafiz to get out soon after. 

One more thing comes to mind. Considering everything was pre-scripted, why was the first Pak wicket scripted to fall on 42, why not on, say, 34 or 51? Could be that syndicate/s knew from rich experience beforehand that this would be about the score for the purpose (for first wicket to fall) to optimize/ almost optimize their gains. Another reason could be, and more likely so, that a net sum total of very large bets were placed to back Pak just before that, and a message was conveyed during over change or otherwise through sign language for wicket to fall i.e. for Jamshed to get out. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Correlation between Match Odds and Fixing

Here is a recent example of how the odds on offer during matches indicate that odds-makers/book-makers know before-hand what was going to happen. That would mean pre-scripting of matches, and connivance of most of those involved/concerned,.Could be foolish ignorance/helplessness of a few as well.

Two test matches took place one after another. Ind-Aus 2nd test 2-5 Mar,13, and NZ-Eng 1st test 6-10 Mar,13. In both matches, a similar situation in course of match was arrived. Australia started their 2nd innings trailing by 266 (India had batted only once) with over 2 days still left. England started their 2nd innings trailing by 293 (NZ had batted only once) with a little less than 2 days but more than 180 overs still left. England had lasted only 55 overs for their 167 in the1st innings. 

Now look what the odds on offer were (say betfair odds) for similar situations and what happened in the matches thereafter. Odds in Ind-Aus match at that stage were less than 1.25 in f/o India and in NZ-Eng match same were less than 2 in f/o draw. India went on to win comfortably from thereon, odds rising only to 1.33 for a very brief period till fall of first Australian wicket at 56, remaining much below 1.25 for remaining match. And the NZ-Eng match ended in a comfortable draw, England losing only 6 wickets in 170 overs in their 2nd essay, on a pitch spruced up by rain on last 2 days of a test match. The odds in f/o draw just went on decreasing all the time, England losing their first wicket at a score of 200 plus. It may also be noted that with 1st wicket partnership of NZ reaching 50 plus, NZ were the first favourites, the odds in their favour being about 1.85. And with NZ doing better and better, scoring fast establishing lead of 293, weather not deteriorating much, the odds in f/o NZ remained higher thereafter. 

But probably I am a moron. Still some intellectuals, especially those in position of authority, will say that there is nothing wrong about this and bookies could foresee correctly knowing the pitch condition and teams composition. I, the moron, would salute such intellectuals rather than argue further with them.

The above is not an isolated example, though a recent one. I must have come across thousands (many times over in a single match) of such and worse incongruities over last few years.

Let us see what happens in the next SL-Bangladesh 1st test match being played now. SL are favourite at the start of the match by odds of about 1.5 and they declare their first innings at 570/4. After Bangladesh lose their first wicket, odds are 1.2 in f/o SL at score of about 35-40 for 1. Soon Bangladesh lose their 2nd wicket at 65 and soon after that the odds start galloping. Please note here that with 50 plus opening partnership of Aus in their 2nd innings, the odds had increased only to 1.33 from 1.25, as mentioned above. At the end of 2nd day, with score at 135/2, the odds were about 1.5. About 40 minutes into 3rd day and score just 170/2, the odds had changed drastically to 1.8 in f/o draw. There was a reason to this madness. With two quick wickets to fall, keeping in with the odds being offered on 2nd day, the odds on offer at this stage should have been in the range of 1.2 to 1.25. But due to the drastic change having been affected earlier, the odds on offer after fall of 4th quick wicket  at 177 were 1.6 in f/o SL. Now question will be why all this jugglery, why would bookies purposefully keep odds higher in f/o SL after loss of 4th Bangladeshi wicket. The answer lies in what happened thereafter. An unbroken 261 run fifth wicket partnership by the end of 3rd day's play and penning of these lines. Regarding pitch, I am told by the commentators that no past match here had gone to 5th day.

Probably above will make one understand better how Dhiren Shah of 'Inside the Boundary Line' could read into pre-scripting of matches, through changing odds also. Many other factors confirming the same to him further.