Tuesday, April 30, 2013

RR vs RCB - 29/4/2013

In my brief interaction with Head, ACSU/ICC the other day, I felt amused to know that ACSU were happy that there was no proof available for session betting, rather than trying to find and establish that proof. They would never do it since existence of session betting in no time will establish existence of continuous staged cricket It was like and not so like a police station knowing that there was prostitution going all around, but rather than acting to curb it feeling happy that there was nothing on record. While the world has come to understand that  IPL is no different from WWF, the ACSU is enjoying its blissful ignorance.

The manipulation of session scoring was again well depicted in the first 0-10 overs session. With Gayle on crease, there was a (must have been) session score on offer. With Gayle hitting boundaries for RCB to be 39/0 in 3 overs, session score on offer must have been tempting for the punters to bet for the runs to be scored. Gayle got out in the 4th over and the dreaded RCB batting went into a shell till the 10th over, scoring only 36 runs in the last 7 overs of the session. And boundaries flew again as soon as the 11th over started (16 runs were scored in the 11th over).   

Before the match started, the experts (especially Sidhu ji) explained to the viewers how difficult the pitch was, there was going to be uneven bounce and lateral movement. While discussing the merits of Dravid's decision to put opposition in, it was said that even if RCB were restricted to 140, it won't be useful. Against this analysis, more than 170 were scored by RCB and that score was successfully chased by the team batting second.

Was it genius of Dravid to include and promote Sanju Samson in batting, or the gift of the script-writers to him (Dravid)? Hope a follower of my blog would know by now.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Experts and Commentators get it Right

PWI vs DD at Raipur - 28/4/2013

PWI won the toss and put Delhi in. DD were slightly favourite to win the match before start with odds of about 1.85. Before start, Gavaskar and Sidhu both predicted DD win and they proved right. Shastri said  that 130-140 would a good score on this pitch. After DD had posted 164, he again mentioned that one could fancy chances with a score of 160 plus on any pitch, and especially on this surface. He also proved right, though there was a catch.

0-10 overs session: DD were 24/1 after 5 overs, a slow scoring. Then they were 62/1 after 8 overs, having scored 16 runs in the 8th over. With Sehwag on the crease, that could be justified. But at that stage, DD scoring just 6 runs of next 2 overs with Sehwag on crease and before he got out can be termed inexplicable. Above scoring pattern was nothing but manipulations to hoodwink the punters betting on session scoring. 

With DD 68/3 in 10 overs, the odds in f/o Pune were a bit high at about 1.72, probably an early indication that Pune were not going to win this match.

PWI conceded and DD scored 63 runs in last 5 overs for DD to finish their quota of 20 overs at a comfortable 164.

So commentators saying that new ball was supposed to do something, bowlers like Morne Morkel being in DD ranks, and earlier comments of Shastri, DD should have come on top early in PWI batting. It happened just the opposite and this was the catch even though the commentators proved right in the ultimate analysis. 

PWI scored 76 before losing first wicket (Uthapa) through a lose shot to a lose delivery in 10.2 over and odds having gone down in their favour to about 1.5. Soon second wicket (Finch) was gone courtesy umpiring blunder (knowingly or unknowingly - the umpire would know), and the match had been turned. But required scoring rate was always within reach and the commentators went on emphasizing on the strength of the batting of the PWI yet to come, in the form of dreaded Yuvraj Singh, Steven Smith and Luke Wright. PWI were in the hunt till the 18th over before suddenly losing the two set batsmen. The punters backing and led to back PWI were again left in the lurch suddenly. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Can One Score Sitting in the Dugout?

This is the question, the match between CSK and KKR on 28/4/13 raises. KKR are chasing 200 runs, requiring 201 runs to win. Yet their most dangerous batsman, the pinch hitter, Yusuf Pathan, doesn't come to the batting crease till the fag end (to play 3 balls for 3 runs) when the match was virtually already over.

And this can't be dismissed as an idle talk. Yusuf had been opening for KKR in earlier matches, and had contributed 19 runs to the 26 scored of the first over of one such match. Argument that he wasn't in form as he had got out for duck in the last match won't hold either. If considered out of form, why was he in the team? There could be one argument that he had been getting out to pace bowling early in the innings, and hence not made to open this time. Agreed. But then why won't he be sent in at the fall of McCullum's wicket at 63 in 6 overs? That is if KKR were playing with an intention to win.

KKR had virtually lost the match when Kallis got out at 99 in 12.2 overs. Requiring 75 out of last 5 overs, they briefly came back into the game through 16th to 18th over to rattle the punters, before the preordained end. A cameo from Pathan could have altered the result to be in favour of KKR. Issue is not that it didn't come about, the issue is it wasn't given a chance. Surely one can't deliver just from being named in the eleven and can't score for the team sitting in the dug-out. 

The first CSK wicket fell just after completion and manipulation of the first 0-10 overs session.

Why Gayle had to flop on 27/4/2013 (RCB vs MI)

In RCB's last match, they had posted 263 runs in 20 overs with Chris Gayle remaining unbeaten on 175. So they were expected to at least make a match of it while chasing 194 posted by MI in their 20 overs in this match. Also recently, scores as high as 185 had been chased successfully in two consecutive matches by other teams without the services of Gayle.

Against this background, with Gayle on crease and Dilshan hitting crisp boundaries now and then, what would any punter do or rather what could any poor punter do? Nothing but to bet against MI, the favourites with odds varying between 1.45 and 1.5. And with Dilshan out, odds coming down to less than 1.3, a punter would further bet backing RCB, expecting Gayle to fire anytime soon now. See it the other way. With Gayle on the crease, no one normally could dare bet against RCB and in f/o MI at such low odds. Now, Gayle succeeding even briefly would have necessitated change in odds (increase in odds in f/o MI in this case) such that the punters having backed RCB could book profits, or at least cover their losses/betting amount. That couldn't be allowed and therefore Gayle had to get out cheaply (without firing but keeping hopes kindled with an odd six and two boundaries). And soon after the other big two, Kohli and Villiers also perished very cheaply, leaving no chance/opportunity for the punters to cover their losses at any stage.

And who else but Harbhajan (the bowling villain for MI in their last match) to take Gayle's wicket?

Let us also have a look on MI batting prior to that. Tendulkar shows a lot of promise and enterprise before getting himself out LBW. Rohit Sharma, a batsman in form, gets himself run-out.

Towards the end, the brilliant run out of Dinesh Karthik by Kohli, and similar run out of Rayudu the next ball goes to show the excellence, expertise, and robot like precision these players possess. And when they so often perform worse than school kids in matters of catching, running between wickets, throwing, batting, or bowling, one should easily understand what is behind that.

And then Pollard gets out the next ball, 3 wickets in 3 balls, and the session manipulation is taken due care of.

RR vs SRH: 27/4/2013

The top batsmen getting out cheaply and tailenders piling up runs, all was a result of the ingenuity of script-writers. So says the book 'Inside the Boundary Line.' This particular aspect of the script-writing was well exhibited in this match through SRH innings. From 29/6 in 6.1 overs, they could pile up a well competitive (especially in light of their bowling prowess and performance so far in the tournament) 144 runs. While cricket experts will waste no time in attributing this to vagaries of the game, a simple minded like me would wonder that either the SRH top batsmen forgot how they were to bat in first 6 overs, or the RR bowlers forgot later on how they were bowling in those 6 overs.

After one initial success to SRH (Rahane), RR won comfortably with more than two overs to spare. Are SRH, the new entrants (like PWI last year), going the same way as PWI went last year? May be or may be some twist to that pattern, time will tell us.

SRH exhibited some great bowling performances to make punters expect same from them in matches to come. That's why now lousy performances from them. While they repeatedly defended low scores, they are not being able to compete with better scores on the board. This is one small example of how scripting has to be done and is done on long term basis , not that some odd match only is fixed.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

KXIP vs KKR on 26/4/2013

Missing easy run-out chances (Morgan), dropping simplest of catches (Mandeep Singh), hitting shots up in the air and/or straight to fielders for the sole purpose of getting out (David Hussey, Vora, Miller, and others), giving catching practice to the wicket keeper (Pathan), wrong/absurd umpiring decisions, all was there.

The starting odds in f/o KKR were 1.65 or so and remained about so even when Gilchrist was on the crease after a steady start by KXIP. Normally the odds in f/o KKR should have increased, but didn't and accordingly Gilchrist didn't last long enough to inflict any damage on the opponents, and KXIP posted only a modest total after a steady start.

When does Gilchrist get out? Soon  after the commentators start telling that Gilchrist should be playing a long innings today. And wicket was expected to get slow as the game progressed, as per the commentators. Morgan didn't find so while hitting sixes at will, later in the innings.

KXIP were 120/4 after 16 overs, and 131/6 after 19 overs, scoring 3 runs in the 18th over and 2 runs in the 19th over with wickets in hand. And then they suddenly score (with bowlers allowing of course) 18 runs in the last over. This is how session scoring is manipulated to be-fool and rob the punters.

149 was just a competitive score for KKR to chase. They lost two quick wickets of successive deliveries to be 10/2 in 1.3 overs and 16/2 after 3 overs. But brisk scoring thereafter turned around both the 6 over session scoring (45/2) and the match odds. KKR won comfortably from thereon, disappointing the punters expecting KXIP win earlier and at least a fight back (as had been happening in last few matches) at some stage later on by them.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dhoni the batting Hero, Steyn the bowling Villain

CSK vs SRH: 25/4/2013

CSK were the hot favourites before start of the match with odds of  about 1.55. And accordingly, SRH were tottering at 100/5 at the end of 16 overs. So what? They scored further 59 runs in next 4 overs through unknown batsmen against an awed bowling attack. Scripting hardly has any limitations. Teams may fold up scoring less than 10 runs in last 4 overs or may score 60 plus runs. But scripting in this IPL has been consistent so far in turning around matches after 16 overs of one or other innings.

These sudden and dramatic turn arounds must have been helping the fixers to make a killing, especially through session betting.

Even with that score, and a superb bowling performance so far in the tournament by SRH, the odds remained in f/o CSK in view of their superior batting. And contrary to the bowling potential of SRH, CSK were 58/0 after 6 overs, well on course to win comfortably. But that was not to be. After 6 overs session was done and dusted, CSK started giving in to same ordinary bowling, to be 76/2 in 10 overs and 86/2 in 12 overs.

Amit Mishra dropping Dhoni in the 11th over is worth watching. To describe shortly, it was a desperate effort by a fielder to drop a sitter. From thereon, it was Dhoni, the superhero batsman, Steyn and others the bowling villains. Bravo also helped Dhoni to be a super hero by blocking balls himself, especially in the 16th over. 

How does Steyn to be a villain help the fixers? When Steyn comes for bowling, punters would expect something favourable heappening for the fielding side and bet accordingly. And the contrary result, as Steyn being hit for two consecutive sixes in first 2 balls of the 17th over (at that crucial stage of the match), would bring deep smiles to the fixers.

The wicket was said to be a good batting wicket by the commentators, in contrast to Kolkata wicket in last match. Yet chasing proved to be relatively much easier in Kolkata than in this match.

And the batting hero for SRH, Ashish Reddy, bowled a lousy final over for his side to lose the match. Surprisingly, and not surprisingly, with spinner Mishra doing well, the other two spinners in the side, Vihari and Sarguman were not even tried. 

KKR vs MI: 24/4/2013

The match started differently, with KKR scoring 26 runs in the first over. And then they went on to lose. Malinga bowled one over, the last of the KKR innings, to remind himself and the viewers about his true potential.

Absurd LBW decisions continued (Dinesh Karthik). It must be for this reason, a lot of absurd LBW decisions to be part and parcel of the scripts, that Hawkeye is not being used to verify the umpiring decisions, in the telecast of IPL6 matches. 

The experts and the commentators emphasized in the beginning that the wicket would get slower and slower as the match progressed. Gavaskar categorically said that if KKR could post 160, they should win. KKR posted 159 and lost, MI easily chasing down in a predominantly one sided chase, duly aided by KKR bowling and fielding. While the punters were misled, an escape route was left for Gavaskar to say later that he had said 160, not 159.

Back to Old Ways

DD vs KXIP:  23/4/13

Scripting and DD back to old ways for this match. The strong DD batting could manage only 120 in 20 overs, crumbling towards the end as usual. It is another matter that experts and commentators in the beginning called it a good batting wicket, a 160 -170 runs wicket.

KXIP got a wobble when they lost 3rd wicket in the 5th over, but won comfortably thereafter. 

Gayle Storm

PWI vs RCB - 23/4/13

Finally a match scripted to be swept by nothing but Gayle storm. And none other than our poor Pune Warriors were on the receiving end. If Gayle can hit sixes as he hit in this match, why does he not do it more often, especially in T20 matches he participates in, and just blocks balls at times?

In the bargain, the session scoring was manipulated in both the sessions to be more than what was on offer mostly, except for the last 5 balls of the innings. That also is an usual manipulation. 

A Repeat

CSK vs RR:  22/4/13

Different phase of scripts has begun - predominantly high scoring games, and high scores to be overhauled by the team batting second. A repeat script in this chain. 

Exactly same score by team batting first as in the last game, and overhauled by CSK in the last over, as in the last game. The misfielding towards the end helped RR in losing the game. 

At the start of CSK innings, the commentator/s said that Vijay was due for firing and that Hussey was expected to be slow initially as in the last game. Murli Vijay flopped, and Hussey fired from the word go.

A scripted match as usual.

PWI bat well but Lose Again

KXIP vs PWI: 21/4/2013

Put into bat, PWI scored 185, second highest score of the tournament so far. And yet they lost. They, one of the mightiest sides on paper, lose chasing  small totals (from invincible position), and defending large totals (again from seemingly invincible position). Bad luck or good scripting to rob the punters?

Chasing massive 185, KXIP were 5/2, the main threat Gilchrist also gone. By all means, a lost cause at that stage. And they went on to win, even though requiring a good 29 runs of last two overs.

The script writing has been put into reverse gear, it would appear. The batsman who had scored well for the team bowls the last over to lose the match for the team. A oft used ploy by the script-writers.

I think and I wonder. I do wonder if teams can hit 10 plus and 15 plus runs at will in the last over of the match to win it, as happens nonchalantly in IPL matches, match after match; why don't they try and score those runs earlier in the innings to win comfortably, as any team should and would endeavour.

DD can bat afterall

DD vs MI: 21/4/2013

Through Sehwag and Jayawardene, DD rediscovered their batting prowess, after six consecutive failures. A natural phenomenon or dictates of scripts? Answer shouldn't be difficult for one gifted with normal intelligence. How lasting or short lived this rediscovery is going to be, time alone will tell (of course the script-writers and the fixers must already be knowing).

In last match/es, the top DD batsmen flopped after showing initial promise. Punters could never be sure about their not flopping this time. On the contrary, they must have made mistakes expecting DD to lose wickets in their chase, which they didn't till match was almost over. 

Jayawardene, the DD captain, said before the toss that the pitch would get slow as the match progresses. A statement repeated by the commentator (Bhogle if I remember correctly) towards the end of MI innings when a healthy MI score was in sight. Not only did MI score at a better pace in the end, but DD also surpassed the substantial 161 posted by MI easily, losing their first wicket after 150. Was Jayawardene's statement to befool the opposing captain or the punters? The repetition of same by the commentator certainly couldn't be to befool the opposing captain.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

RR vs RCB - 20/4/2013

After having put into bat, it was the turn of the RR to collapse towards the end, a peculiarity of IPL6, after having shown good promise in the middle overs (5 to 15). Throwing of wickets remained as blatant as ever.

A one sided match, comfortably won by RCB, the hot favourites, inspite of a slight wobble, when their 3 big wickets fell in the middle within a space of 11 runs.

Commentators' Curse?

Match no. 26:  KKR vs CSK at Kolkata on 20/4/13

KKR won the toss and chose to bat. It was their turn now to collapse like nine pins after a very promising start through Yusuf Pathan and Gautam Gambhir. From 46/0 they were 55/4, leaving punters backing KKR gasping. The fourth wicket, the run-out of Pathan was really comic! When Pathan saw Bravo, the fielder, fumbling with the ball, he stopped mid-pitch to compensate for the fumble, to be run-out as had been scripted and conveyed to him. 

And the clippings of Morgan hitting fours in last innings were shown just before he got out without bothering the scorers much.

In the innings break, after KKR were restricted to 119/9, the experts opined as if the match was over. And  yet at  one stage with CSK  71/5, KKR had become the favourites to win the match. Dhoni, the super hero failed courtesy run-out. But CSK was to win and they won courtesy some lose bowling and lousy fielding by KKR towards the end. Inexplicably, Pathan bowled one over for 3 runs and 1 wicket, and then came back to bowl only in the last over when match was more or less over. Kallis, the greatest international alrounder, had ensured so by bowling full tosses in his last over.

Nearing 15 overs of CSK innings, Shastri tells us that if required run rate crosses 10, it will be difficult for CSK to win on this pitch. And it was just after the required run rate crossed 10, that CSK started hitting and won comfortably in the end.

Commentators' curse or something else? 

KXIP vs SRH: 19/4/13

All the stale ingredients of match-fixing and IPL6 matches were on view. KXIP won the toss and chose to bat. Wickets were lost as per dictates of the script, crashing to 123/9 in 20 overs, after a steady start and promise of a competitive score. Wickets were lost in a heap towards the end of the innings, a peculiarity of many a script for IPL6, the last match batting hero Gony so openly getting himself run out without facing a ball. The session scoring for the first session was manipulated for the session score to be less than the score on offer at any point throughout the session. Gavaskar comments senseless batting and that is it.

Experts back the SRH to score 124 (to win) quite easily. They did score those runs but not without some hiccups. Commentator said that the ball will come well on the bat in first 6 overs, and it will be difficult to score as the ball becomes old. Just the opposite happened. SRH were 33/1 in 6 overs, and started scoring more freely after the 6th over. Another favourite with the script writers of IPL6 - teams allowing the required run rate to mount and then hitting sixes towards end to win - was also incorporated in this match script. And so the absurd umpiring decisions.

One wonders what has happened to Azhar Mahmood in IPL. Probably he completed his quota of doing well with bat and ball both in BPL. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Repeat Script and a Big Bluff

The script for the 24th match of IPL6 on 18/4/2013 between CSK and DD was broadly the same as for the last match between RR and MI, with the difference that in this match the pre-match favourites were the winners while in the previous match it was the other way round. Only slight variation was in the first ten overs of both the matches.

During CSK batting, fixing was clearly visible through session scoring. Having scored 48/1 in first 7 overs, CSK put breaks on scoring till the 10th over to be 60/1, and start hitting boundaries as soon as the 11th over starts. Why did it happen so? To manipulate the session score in 0-10 overs session such that in the end it was less than the session score on offer at any point during this session. This in turn makes all the punters lose who would have been expecting (a normal expectation) and betting for CSK to score at least 60 plus or more runs in first ten overs (that include 6 power-play overs), with only one wicket down. Brisk scoring in subsequent overs ensured the good overall score as was required by the script.

After 2nd wicket was down, Dhoni walked in promoting himself in the batting order. Whenever Dhoni promotes himself, he succeeds, as if things were in his hands. Wasn't anything different this time, Dhoni helped by lose balls and dropped chances as usual.

CSK score 169/4 in 20 overs, having been 160/2 at the end of 19 overs. The odds were 1.4 in f/o CSK at the end of 19 overs, and when DD resumed their batting to chase, the same had gone up to 1.54 for no apparent reason. No CSK bowler had got injured, and nothing had happened for the pitch to ease out. Sehwag hits a crisp six in the first over and the odds shoot up to more than 1.8. Appeared DD were on course for a successful chase, with the three most explosive batsmen at the top of their batting line-up.

The six by Sehwag and shooting up of odds soon turned out to be double bluff, one on the field and one off the field. DD had lost 2 wickets before the 2nd over ended, and the match was all over when Sehwag was out in 5.1 overs with score at 30/4. Once again, Sehwag chose to get out just after loss of big wicket of Jayawardene. Punters backing Delhi after their consecutive 5 losses and earnestly expecting law of averages to catch up, and buoyed up by that six from Sehwag, had absolutely no place to hide as early as after the 5th over.

The early collapse of DD must have also helped the fixers to make a killing in 0-6 overs session of this second batting. After that 1st over and with Sehwag and Warner on the crease, majority of punters must have put their money on the runs to be scored as on offer, and would have continued to do so throughout, till the fifth over with Sehwag still there with Jayawardene. As it turned out, the session score in the end at 32/4  was less than the minimum on offer at any point during this session.

The Umpiring errors and suicidal run out of Mendis played their part.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Time for Cat to play the role of Mouse

Match no. 23:  RR vs MI on 17/4/13

The cat was asked to play the role of mouse and it did so obligingly. That is one way of describing the loss of MI to RR by 87 runs in a 20 overs game, in the present day shamelessly staged cricket, duly accepted and applauded by the world. One wonders what for ACSU exists, and how blind and shameless a body can be! Last few games compete immensely with each other in blatant display of staged cricket, and though it may be difficult to decide the winner, the last game between PWI and SRH should get the cake.

Let us briefly talk about this match. I couldn't watch most of this match, especially how Mumbai battled to bat. But that may not matter much. The MI were hot favourites before start, with such a strong team on paper and their showing in their last few matches, with odds of about 1.55 in their favour. First their strong bowling failed to allow RR to amass 179 runs, and then their such strong batting flopped completely to be out for 92 runs. If thorns grew on the pitch during the break between the two innings, one won't know.

How would such a match have helped the fixers? With the earlier displays by MI, and the commentators continuously reminding the viewers about their awesome batting and bowling potential, the majority of punters would have continuously expected MI to stage a comeback, first while bowling, more while batting, and would have continued to place bets against RR and backing MI with increasingly tempting odds. With the script as it was, they never got chance to make good their losses, resulting in heavy gains for the fixing syndicate (must have been so).    

A repeat with different Twists

We are talking of match between PWI and SRH played on 17/4/13 at Pune. The first match between them also went same way with SRH batting first and scoring 126 to win. This time they scored 119 and won. While chasing, in the first match, Pune lost their first wicket at 36 in the 7th over and surrendered the advantage by the 12th over with score at 50-4. In this match, they lost first 2 wickets off consecutive deliveries at 38 in the 5th over, but remained well in control till the 19th over, requiring 14 runs in 12 balls with 4 wickets in hand.

And shaming cricket, their last three batsmen followed their captain in the same over and other senior batsmen earlier, in playing shots for the sole purpose of getting out (caught or bowled as the case be), to present a hat-trick to Amit Mishra and match to SRH. The strong and deep batting line of Pune stunned its fans, assured in their knowledge that they will be again there to cheer them in the next match. The Umpire also played his part in giving Bhuvaneshwar Kumar out LBW when he was not.

Before start of Pune innings, Sidhu told the TV viewers that he would bet all his horses on Pune win which was sure to be a cake-walk.

The punters having backed Pune, a very highly likely winner, before the start of the 19th over, couldn't find any place to hide by the time the over ended. And undoubtedly, the odds available for backing Pune at the end of the 18th over were at least double (at about 1.2) than what these generally should have been to tempt the punters to lose heavily. 

Super Overs Reveal All

There is something exclusive about DD team. They have played all the five games this season so far, to lose (though still much better than PWI last season). Their last game vs RCB on 16/4/2013 was all lost before the last ball of the 16th over, with 23 runs required of 25 remaining balls with 7 wickets in hand and two well set batsmen for RCB on the crease. And then uncertainties of cricket (for the fools) or belligerence of the script writers (as the non-fools would know) prevailed, 20 overs each side ending in an unbelievable tie.

Before that, Sehwag once again chose to get out immediately after his partner had done so. In the bargain, causing heavy losses to the punters betting on the session and expecting high scoring in the 0-10 over session as Warner and Sehwag had been batting in full flow before both got out in quick succession against the run of  play, in the 6th and the 7th overs. From 42-0 at the end of five overs, the session ended at 67/2.

A plumb LBW of RCB batsman Rahul (Cricinfo calls it dead plumb) in the first over was turned down by the umpire. Just as commentator said Gayle was struggling for runs, he hit 2 sixes in 3 balls before getting out. Something to do with manipulation of session scoring.

With Kohli and Villiers on the crease at fall of Gayle's wicket, Ravi Shastri and other commentator/s were repeatedly saying that one more wicket for Delhi was needed/would put them in strong position, a clear  indication to me that the wicket would not fall soon and that the partnership would go until end. And sure it happened so before the late innings drama leading to another tie in the tournament.

To my mind, it was a tie designed to be so before the start of the match.

Now let us examine the super overs critically. DD bowled first and conceded only 3 runs in the first 4 balls. And when match appeared to be in their grasp, next two balls were bowled to be hit for consecutive sixes. 16 runs to win was still not beyond DD with Warner, Sehwag, and Jayawardene, the big 3 in their ranks (no score being beyond them). But alas! Sehwag can't bat as he has not fielded, Jayawardene doesn't come out, and Warner is out first ball. Pathan raises hopes with some good hits to fail when it matters. Rohrer plays his role of a non performer.

The play in super overs clearly reveals (only to those with eyes open) that DD were never meant to win this match and they didn't.   

Reverse Scripting

The match between KXIP and KKR played at Mohali on 16/4/13 was a lesson in how to reverse the script/s. 

KKR won the toss and put KXIP in, justifying their decision by restricting them to 109/7 in 16 overs. In their last two matches, KXIP had succumbed badly towards the end of their innings, from a competitive position earlier on. The reverse happened in this innings, led by Gony (first match of the season for him) their tailenders scored 48 of last 4 overs to place them in a healthy position with 157/9 in 20 overs, a score eventually proving sufficient for them to win the match. 

There were some spot reverses as well in the script. Narine, the enigmatic West Indian bowler playing for KKR took a hat-trick in the 15th over, and got hit for 23 runs in his last over, the 19th of the innings. That was to manipulate offer/odds for session betting alongside the match result to the disadvantage of the punters (with such a dramatic reversal). And when punters would have started expecting further healthy scoring in the last over, a mere 7 were scored again to the disadvantage of the punters.

When KKR's turn to chase 157 came, they lost 2 quick wickets to be 2 down for just 1 run. Still the odds were a tempting 1.7 in f/o Punjab, in anticipation of a big 3rd wicket partnership that was to follow with a flurry of fours soon after losing the 2nd wicket. From 1-2 in 1.2 overs, score was 19-2 in 4 overs, and then 45/2 in 6 overs, heavy scoring in last 2 overs of the 0-6 overs session being done against run of play to manipulate the session score.

Then with 106/2 in 13 overs, a very strong position to win (requiring just 52 in 42 balls with 8 wickets in hand and two well set batsmen on the crease, KKR's batsmen started getting themselves out to be 116/4 in 15 overs and 128/6 in 18 overs. Some spot reversals. In further reversal, 19 runs were scored by KKR in the 19th over before losing a wicket on the last ball of the over. And with further drama in the last over, KKR, the favourites before the match and in strong position during most of the match in both the innings, ultimately lost.  

Scripting for an unexpected Result

19th Match: CSK vs PWI at Chennai on 15/4/13

Chennai are the hot favourites to win at odds of 1.55 before the match starts. On paper they are a much stronger team, and PWI haven't been doing well so far in the tournament. PW win the toss and elect to bat. They post their best opening partnership of all IPL's before losing first wicket at 96 in the 13th over. They end up posting a modest total of 159, the odds falling back to 1.59 in f/o Chennai from 1.95 at one stage at the end of the 10th over. Could probably not be justified even in view of strong and deep batting line-up of CSK and the way they had won their last match chasing 165, and scoring required 16 runs in the last over, with a ball to spare.

The commentators kept on harping on CSK's strong and deep batting that was not to come good this time and didn't come good. The first wicket fell at 0 and CSK were 40-3 in 6.4 overs with Pune becoming favourites as per odds. CSK again came into contention with a steady 4th wicket partnership between Jadeja and Badrinath and a lot of effective batting including Dhoni yet to come. But thereafter no worthwhile partnership matured and the big guns that followed one after another didn't try to hit the required runs and perished meekly for CSK to lose by substantial 24 runs.

A result and match against popular expectation, and a no contest in the end, for the benefit of the fixers.

To Deceive through Opening Match

Was the alround highly impressive performance of KXIP in their opening match to deceive? In that match it appeared as if they would be a team to beat in the tournament. But they have performed pathetically in the two matches since, including their match against RR on 14/4/2013. This was also a match most of which I couldn't follow on TV or internet.

Suppose your leading batsmen are not failing because they have been scripted to do so, but because they are out of form. Gilchrist for Punjab in this case. Then why would you play them if you are in the tournament to win it?

Simple basic thinking (even without knowledge of betting) will make one understand clearly that IPL and cricket is nothing but staged drama. But then it has been said that common sense is very uncommon.

A One Sided Script

I couldn't follow the match on 14/4/13 between KKR and SRH either on TV or internet. KKR had lost their last match to RCB easily, and SRH had beaten the stronger DD in their last match. So the script for this match was such as would not have been expected by the viewers and punters. KKR won and SRH lost in a one-sided contest from beginning till end. SRH never ever came into contention and punters expecting them to do so at some stage at least, in view of the last showing of the two teams. must have suffered. Fixers must have gained from this script as well.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to lose a Match

The 16th match of IPL6, CSK vs RCB on 13/4/13, was a lesson in how to lose a match (forgetting for the time being that everything is scripted anyway). The efforts to lose began with team selection, before the first ball was bowled. Christian was included in the playing eleven to replace Henriques, in form both with the bat and the ball as per his previous performances. And what does he do. He scores 2 runs in 2 balls, and bowls just 2 overs (for 13 runs), while other seamers in his team bowl to lose the match.

Syed Mohammad, the most effective RCB bowler on scene (3-0-15-2) doesn't get to bowl his 4th over, while his team-mates bowl for the team to lose from a very strong position. Can any expert explain it?

RP Singh drops a sitter off Badrinath, and Kohli takes that extra time in throwing the ball on the first ball of the 16th over, allowing the batsmen to complete two runs.

And then that historical (would be) big no-ball by RP Singh for the last ball of the match to convert a win into a loss. Great drama! Another last ball finish! Don't know whether to commend the script writers or laugh on the shamelessness being displayed by the fixers and the organizers.

165 is told to be just a par score and the commentator says very good batting conditions when CSK start their chase. Soon they are in the dumps with 10/2 before late recovery assisted by the opponents.

In second batting, 14 runs scored in the 6th over (the last over of the session bracket) against run of play, 17 runs having been scored in the first 5 overs. 


Averaging through Script

Match: MI vs PWI on 13/4/13

With their last performance PWI must have inspired the punters to back them expecting them to give MI run for their money, especially in the background of their performance against them last season. So the scripting for this match to be such that the match and odds remained in favour of MI from beginning to end, PWI not being in the reckoning at any stage, must have served fixers' cause well.

Was it natural law of averages at play or averaging through script that Dinda, the bowling hero of Pune's win against Mumbai last season, went for IPL's record 63 runs in 4 overs? Curious that with many bowling options available, both in seam and spin, Dinda (with his aweful bowling) was persisted with, even for bowling the last over.

The heavy scoring in last overs by MI ensured session manipulation such that the 20 over score was more than the highest on offer at any point during the session.

Batsmen getting out willingly is now too familiar a thing to be commented upon again and again. It was interesting to see that immediately after the commentator started telling how dangerous Yuvraj could be and that he could be a match winner on his own, he got out, ending all hopes for PWI.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fixers and Actors are just not Bothered

The DD vs SRH match on 12/4/13 further confirmed (though in a sense every match does so) that for the fixers and the players, ACSU of ICC were just non-existent. I say so because this match was one of the crudest and the most blatant displays of fixing. Though there are a large number of matches that will fall in this category, the final of Big-Bash being one of those.

DD have lost their last 3 matches and must try hard to win this one. On paper they are much stronger team with awesome Sehwag, Warner, and Jayawardene at the top of their batting. They win the toss and decide to bat. Odds are 1.57 in their favour on the strength of the team on paper inspite of their poor showing of late. Fine.

Warner gives catching practice to mid on in the first over and DD are 0/1. The odds shoot up to 1.8. Then Jayawardene and Sehwag play some shots for score to be 26/1 in 4.2 overs, and appears that DD are on course. A worthwhile partnership appears to be in the offing, there having been such partnerships on view in last matches, some of those after fall of early wicket/s. The odds fall back to 1.57. Were huge bets placed backing DD then? The action that followed in the field would indicate so. But it could be so designed from the beginning also, to manipulate session scoring. Jayawardene decides to get out, and Sehwag follows him on the very next ball. SRH become the favourites with odds of 1.6 or so in their favour. and remain favourites for most of the part in the match thereafter.

With Sehwag and Jayawardene hitting boundaries, most of the punters would place bets for runs on offer (at an average of 7 an over) during this 0-10 overs session. With fall of these wickets and then Botha on the last ball of the 9th over, session scoring was so manipulated that the session score of 46 was (had to be) less than the minimum on offer any time during this session.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, belying the hopes of revival thst surfaced now and then, for DD to score a miserly 114 in their 20 overs.

The experts considered the match to be over for DD, Sidhu telling in his style that this score would easily be chased 99 out of 100 times. Ishant Sharma, the SRH bowler came on the mic and told that it was a difficult wicket but they would chase down this small total easily (was he trying to justify for public consumption the harakiri by DD batsmen and ensuing harakiri by their own batsmen?). But the drama was far from over.

SRH lost their first wicket early through a run out, but then were a comfortable 43/1 in 7 overs with odds in their favour being around 1.15. In the 8th over 3 singles were taken of first 3 balls and Manjrekar in the commentary box was explaining how easy it was to score, especially singles, with the two left-handers on the crease, And soon enough, the wickets started falling. Now it was the turn of SRH batsmen to throw wickets inexplicably. Just see how Sangkara gives catching practice to Sehwag in the slips. With fall of White at 69 and the 5th wicket soon after at 71, the odds became very volatile, DD again becoming favourite just for some fleeting moments. Commentators started commenting as if DD would now win. Camera goes to SRH dug out and the commentator comments that the gloomy faces of SRH were such as if they had lost the match. This comment follows boundaries by the SRH batsmen.

with SRH at 89/5 in 16 overs, a wicket falls again, off the first ball after strategic time out. The odds on betfair show 1.8 in f/o SRH (jumped up from 1.3 before fall of wicket), and then 1.56 (at 90/6) even before a 4 is scored. At 96/6, odds come down to 1.38. At 100, they lose the key batsman at that stage, Perera, and Manjrekar comments, "Why do SRH not want to win?"  Then DD bowlers feed lose balls to SRH tailenders to enable them to win comfortably with 4 balls to spare.

The above just exemplifies how subtly the correlation between commentators' utterances and the actions (opposite) on the field takes place. If  one sees the recordings of matches critically, one would come across such things thousands of times and understand what I am talking about.

DD show and prove their devilry in losing the fourth consecutive match, two of those to much lower placed teams.

PWI Win At Last

Cricinfo tells me that win against RR on 11/4/13 came after 11 consecutive losses in IPL (9 last season and 2 this season) for Pune. 11 consecutive losses for one of the strongest teams on paper! A proof in itself?

Before toss, both the teams were almost even with odds in f/o PW being 1.9. After the toss, the odds came down to 1.65 even though RR won the toss and decided to bat first, considered to be a distinct advantage on the given pitch/ground. The ostensible reason could be Watson and Shukla not playing for RR. 

With an important wicket of Kusal Perera off the first ball, the odds came down to 1.5. With  the substantial 2nd wicket partnership, the same went up to 1.95 or so with score at 81/1. After the fall of 2nd wicket, quick wickets fell and Pune remained comfortable favourites with odds hardly going above 1.6 in their favour after fall of 3rd wicket at 85. At the end of RR innings with score at 145, the odds in f/o Pune were a mere 1.55, though as per commentators/experts 140 was a good score on this pitch, and RR having bowled wonderfully to restrict KKR in the last match.

Rahane came on the mic and said that the wicket was going to get slower and slower to make stroke making difficult. Shastri emphasized this point while commentating. And we know what followed. The match was over in 4 overs with PWI 51/0. A great contrast to the batting so far in the tournament by them. 

Player on the Mic

In the match between two titans, RCB vs KKR, on 11/4/13, put into bat KKR posted a decent 154 in 20 overs, though they looked good for 175 plus at one stage before the set batsmen Pathan and Gambhir and then Morgan threw their wickets. RCB were the comfortable favourites with 1.67 before the match, and remained favourites for most of the match, except for a short period when Pathan was on the crease.

When the RCB chase started, the fielder from KKR on the mic told the viewers that they had planned for a 150 plus score and were comfortable with the total posted. He further said that they expected ball to stop and do something, especially after six overs. Fine. Just the opposite happened. After 5 overs RCB were struggling at 21/1, still remaining favourites (with Gayle on the crease that may not be unjustified). With 22 runs scored in the 6th over (against run of play again in the last over of the session bracket of 6 overs), RCB never looked back. The ball stopping and doing something was nowhere to be seen. Both the new inductions for this match, Sangwan and Mclaren, failed miserably. Probably they had been inducted for that particular role.  

There were also a number of sure/easy run-out opportunities missed by RCB during KKR batting, though they still won comfortably. Gambhir's run-out chances were missed and he prospered. Then Pathan's easy run-out chance was missed. Punters would have thought that now he would also prosper. But he gave away his wicket soon after to leave those punters gasping. It is just another small example. Through staged cricket the fixers can trap the punters any time, they do so, and do it many ways. I hope to bring out some, if not all, of those through my humble efforts. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

KXIP vs CSK: 10/4/2013

A match I couldn't follow. So not aware how the odds changed, starting odds being around 1.65 in f/o CSK. Seeing the scorecard, it appears CSK must have remained favourites throughout, winning with ease at the end. 

From the scorecard itself, a few things stand out. The dramatic collapse of the Punjab team in slog overs served two purposes simultaneously for the fixers in this match. It made punters lose heavily in the 10-20 overs session betting, as with 106/3 at the end of 14 overs, Hussey and Gurkeerat batting well, with the heavy scoring by MI in the slog overs in the last match fresh in their minds ( and scoring in end in the match before that, even by a weak batting side SRH had been good), the punters couldn't but expect a score above 160, at least well above 150, from KXIP. Also KXIP had done very well in their last match, crushing Pune. So this end innings collapse of Punjab also left punters expecting more than a competitive match, as was very much on the cards, and backing the under-dogs Punjab at that point of time, high and dry. 

And what a contrast in overall performance, especially bowling performance, of Punjab from their performance in the last match only a couple of days ago! Cricket by chance or cricket by fixing/scripting? Use your own grey cells.

Why was Tendulkar Run Out?

History does repeat itself. When in my book 'Inside The Boundary Line' I mentioned how a great batsman was scripted to be run-out since it was to be his successive duck, little did I know that same scripting will be repeated with another great in next season of IPL. Tendulkar was out for duck in the previous match aagainst CSK and got run-out for duck in this match of MI vs DD held on 9/4/13. This also answers those who have often been asking me with a sense of awe and/or disbelief whether Tendulkar was also involved in fixing. A chapter is also already there in the book that deals with this. Even otherwise, it should be really basic for one to understand that there can't be any fixing without involvement of all the key players.

In commentary on Cricinfo, someone categorically says that Tendulkar and Ponting can't fail consecutively for the third time. And exactly opposite happens. May not be much in that.

Now something from this match also for those who ask for evidence of match-fixing. Before start of the match, the odds were 1.8 in f/o MI that came down to 1.7 after the toss. Fine. Now their top two batsmen were out with score of 1 on the board. The way odds behave normally, these should have been 1.5 or 1.6, at best, in f/o DD, under the impact of quick fall of top two batsmen with almost nothing on the board. But at 6/2 in 2 overs, odds in f/o DD were as high as 1.8 (I would love if any betting expert could justify these odds to me). Very tempting for the punters expecting DD even otherwise to do well after two consecutive losses. When one comes across such tempting odds, one must understand/remember that fixers/bookies are no fools. 8 to 9 out of 10 times, it will be for making fools of punters. Also remember nothing is 100%.

So what followed. Pathan taken off after having bowled a wicket maiden, and by far the highest partnership of IPL6 (132 in 13 overs) so far, the odds being 1.18 in f/o MI before it ended. Either bookies are prophets or a necessary part of the fixing syndicate. One doesn't require any grey cells to understand what is what.

Those looking for/asking for evidence must understand that they must understand the betting industry and look for evidence through this industry, if they can't grill the concerned players and officials. And that is for those who can't see the obvious evidence readily available all the time in the shots played and the balls bowled.

In the 10th over, the last of the 0-10 overs session, only 5 runs were scored against the run of play, something to do with session manipulation. And in 10-20 overs session, the ultimate score was more than the maximum session score on offer at any point of time. When Pollard was on the crease, Shastri was emphasizing again and again that 200 were on the cards. He proved right this time as score ultimately well crossed 200, being 209. But not before Pollard was out rather cheaply and punters must have become apprehensive to have made mistakes.

Morne Morkel, the comeback acclaimed bowler of DD failed miserably with 4-0-43-1.

When chase by DD began, two quick wickets fell to ensure that trapped punters, enthused by cheap and quick fall of 2 top MI wickets or otherwise having backed DD, never got any opportunity to escape. Interestingly, though, the odds even with fall of these wickets didn't go down much, as a worthwhile though inconsequential 3rd wicket partnership was to ensue.

9/4/13: RCB vs SRH

RCB are the hot favourites to win at 1.5, and they win ultimately, though SRH compete well till the 9th over of the RCB batting.

SRH won the toss and batted first. Considered to be a weak batting side, and good bowling side, they proved themselves to be opposite in this match. They scored well in the 10-20 overs bracket, disappointing towards the end, especially in the last over, for session manipulation. 

Why should Perera have played such a shot at that juncture to get out? Couldn't White hit the ball, he got out to, for a six, instead of straight to fielder, had he desired so?

Inspite of being a very good bowling side, and having proved themselves so in the first two matches, one of those against same team, and having had Gayle in 6.1 overs, they couldn't even compete defending a good total of 161. At odds of 1.9 then, the punters would have found it attractive to back them, and would have lost. One of their key bowlers flopped miserably. Amit Mishra had figures of 4-0-42-0, spinners on the other side having done well. Of course, all this can happen in natural cricket also.

Does the reversal in scripting pattern start now? Hardly any partnerships in the matches so far. Does the White-Perera partnership indicate worthwhile partnerships now onwards? Next matches will tell.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

KKR vs RR: 8/4/2013

I am being told that the viewers going to watch IPL matches know that those are fixed. No wonder, as it would be someone very dumb not to know after seeing a few of these matches. Still I am not sure whether they know the extent of fixing and understand the implications. And  they crowd the grounds still. That motivates the organisers to continue with the bufoonery. More than that, the bettors continuing to lose their money motivates them.

The subject match was no different. I couldn't follow it live as I was travelling. Could follow it through internet also only intermittently. Still as luck would have it, I could notice the odds in f/o KKR, the favourites to win, suddenly rising to 1.68 from 1.58 in the 6th over for no rhyme and reason. But rhyme revealed itself soon after when Tiwary's wicket fell. And all hell broke loose with KKR collapsing to be 56 for 6 in 11 overs from being 40 for 2 in 6 overs (the last over of the session). Before the champions KKR as a team forgot how to bat, I am sure overall there must have been some heavy betting in their favour.

With so many unexpected turns being dished out so far, it is hard to imagine how many bettors must be becoming paupers. I am sure this trend will not continue for long, and same will be reversed as soon as people implicitly start expecting this trend.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Tie (Designed?)

So a tie early in the league, a designed one no doubt. You just watch the replays of the last over critically and you would know. But whether designed to be a tie from the beginning or towards the end, can't say, though my hunch is  that it was a tie designed to be a tie before the start of the match. Could well not be so, and the fixers' books might have led to the end result to be a tie, as explained somewhere in 'Inside The Boundary Line.' We are talking of RCB vs SRH match played on 7/4/2013 at Hyderabad.

The big guns of RCB batting flopped, and they could manage only 130 runs in 20 overs. In the innings break, I chanced to listen Sidhu tell the viewers in his sure style that the RCB were definitely short by 30 runs. As usual for the much feted experts, he proved to be well off the mark.

Not discussing sessions etc here, as in a tie all bets stand neutralized.

And SRH was meant to win in the super over.

7/4/2013: PW vs KXIP

PW, the pre-match favourites with odds of 1.7, win the toss and bat first. The greatest local hero, Yuvraj, sits out (some back problem, real or feigned?). Before start and during the Pune innings the TV experts and commentators reckon 130 to be a very good score on this pitch. 

Pune start batting and yes it is a difficult pitch. After first over PW are 1-1. Their illustrious batting is never able to come to terms with such a difficult pitch and they are just 99 for the loss of 9 wickets in the allotted 20 overs. 

But lo! when KXIP come to batting, the pitch is as good as one can be, and the necessary runs are scored in 12.2 overs for loss of just 2 wickets.

After last three jig jaw matches, the match goes one way towards KXIP with no opportunity ever during the match for bettors having placed bets on Pune, the favourites, to escape. Not a very common script, I must say, from my experience. But makes a lot of sense to trap/be-fool the punters, such a match coming on heels of last three consecutive matches to leave the punters high and dry.

Interestingly, the odds that jumped to 1.95 or 2.0 in f/o Pune, didn't come down appreciably as generally is the case even when brisk scoring was done in the 3rd and the 4th over. Was that the indication for the things to come? 

In both the sessions, 0-10 and 10-20, the ultimate session score was (should be) less than or same as the minimum score on offer by the bookies at any time during these sessions, or almost.

I shall try to explain here the 0-6 overs session in KXIP innings, to illustrate how tactfully and subtly the session scoring is scripted/done to be-fool/trap the punters, the purpose of staged cricket. Gilchrist hits 14 runs in the first over. Now there is a session score on offer. After 3 overs, score is 23/1, Gilchrist having holed out in this over. With this background, what would one expect regarding scoring pattern in next 3 overs, with two local lads on the crease? At best, some steady scoring. An unbelievable 31 runs (21+10) are scored off next 2 (not 3) overs.

I come to the crux now. Now if you are a punter and score on offer for the 6th over (still a power-play over) is just 7 runs, what would you do? Only 2 runs were scored in this 6th and final over of the session

One may brush the above off as something happening naturally. But one won't, if one has experienced session betting or has been able to visualise it, and one applies one's mind while seeing the replays.

And this sudden change/unexpected change in the scoring pattern in last over, or a group of last overs is not one-off phenomenon.

MI vs CSK - 6/4/13

CSK, the pre-match favourites at odds of 1.75 in their favour, ultimately lose the match. 

MI won the toss and chose to bat. Their batsmen come and go, to be 83/6 in  12 overs with odds comparatively good at 1.31 still, the two greats having fallen very early. No further wicket falls and courtesy Pollard MI post a competitive 148 in their 20 overs.

Chasing, CSK are never in a comfortable position throughout such that MI remain favourites/hot favourites for most of their innings, especially after fall of 4th wicket of Bravo. Ponting is unable to hold on to a catch offered by Bravo, but Bravo gets caught out the next ball, this time by wicket-keeper.

MI win in a last over finish, with a lot of good drama for the viewers. The present Indian super hero, Dhoni, is fed with lose balls and wides alternatively, to score a blistering 51 in 26 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes, before he dramatically gets out caught at the boundary by Pollard on the first ball of the last over - to enable MI to be the ultimate winners. The party for Dhoni began with two juicy lose balls from Pollard at the end of the 14th over, when it appeared to be all over for CSK.  

6/4/2013: DD vs RR

The star studded DD lose again, Sehwag again sitting out, this time to  a low placed team of RR. 

RR win toss and decide to bat and bat well, very well till the 16th over, to be 142/2. And they end up with 165/7 in 20 overs. Must have caused good loss to a number of session bettors.

Well placed to win at 149/2 in 17.5 overs and requiring 166 to win, DD throw it in front of their home crowd, to lose by 5 runs.

When Russel comes to crease, the commentator starts telling about his strike rate of 150 and what a good striker/hitter he was. An indication for the wise, that he was going to flop and flop he did under the circumstances. This is just one example of numerous instances of opposite action on the ground than what is subtly hinted by the commentators. Something brought out in 'Inside The Boundary Line.'

5/4/13: PW vs SRH

A  good batting wicket as per experts and commentators. Side batting first scores 126. At 60 for 2 in 10 overs, they are not that bad off. But stop scoring runs and continue losing wickets after 10th over, having lost a wicket on the last ball of the 10th over.

Consider what session bettors would have expected and what happens. In both the sessions, 0-10 and 10-20, the ultimate session score is (should be) less than or same as the minimum score on offer by the bookies. Through out these sessions, mostly punters would expect the batting side to put pressure on the accelerator next, with that next never to come. They are bound to lose heavily.

After this score by SRH, they are written off by the commentators and experts, nothing much wrong in that. But then something  grossly wrong in the way, the PW bat to lose the match by a big margin of 24 runs chasing a small score. Not saying much, just see the shots being played by Uthappa and Samuels, and tell me if those are not the shots one would play for giving catching practice to the wicket-keeper and the first slip respectively. For other wickets also, decide for yourself (except for last over by Steyn when match was already almost over)  whether it was superb bowling or suicidal batting.

Brief Scores: SRH 126/6; PW (a very strong batting side on paper) 104/10 in 18.5 overs

PW were the pre-match favourites, and lost match from being favourites with odds of about 1.1 at one stage before losing the first wicket.

Second such match in succession.

Friday, April 5, 2013

One Ball May Tell It All

To know that 'men's international cricket is nothing but staged drama' is absolutely true, don't bother to break your head on betting odds and session betting (if you find it too cumbersome). Just view the last two balls of the RCB vs MI match played on 4th April, 2013, and apply your mind slightly, just slightly.

MI require 8 runs off these 2 balls to win the match. Kieron Pollard, that awesome West Indian hitter, is to face his first ball of the innings. And lo! he hits it straight for almost a six, but effectively a four. And the next ball he pushes for a single for his team to lose the match. He doesn't even attempt to hit it for a boundary or over boundary. 

The bigger question is why don't the cricket scribes, commentators, and experts find it odd and talk about it. These blokes would waste no time in arguing against above, "that was a wonderful yorker bowled that couldn't be hit for a boundary," But is it so? Haven't yorkers been converted into full-tosses and hit for fours and sixes? Agreed that a batsman can not necessarily succeed in hitting a boundary or given runs of a given ball, but it is the lack of effort/attempt to do so in that situation by a batsman like Pollard who had hit almost a six off the previous ball effortlessly (so the argument that he was new to crease won't hold) that should be baffling to these blokes. And their not feeling baffled should be baffling to people like you and me.

It is not one off ball or shot like that. Through recordings of past few months and years one can easily come across hundreds and thousands of such shots/balls which can't be cricket. And in the coming months and years one will come across hundreds and thousands of such shots/balls again.

In this instant case, a small question arises, suppose Pollard's first hit had gone for a six, and not four? No big deal. In that case, next ball would simply have not resulted any run, if RCB were to win. 

Let us go further back into this match. After 16.2 overs, MI were 106/3, requiring further 51 runs off remaining 22 balls, that would be @ 13.8 runs per over, a big big ask. The RCB should have been hot favourites to win at that stage with odds of 1.25 or less in their favour, but the odds were fluctuating between 1.7 and 1.5 (tempting for one to put money on RCB). And what happens, 30 runs are scored of next 5 balls, equation changing to 21 runs required of 17 balls, almost a surety, and odds rightly become 11 for RCB win (doubtful if anyone would have put money on RCB at that stage). Nothing wrong for the batting side, though something grossly wrong must have happened with the bowling side. 

Interesting to see what happens now. With the same pair of set batsmen on the crease for next 11 balls, MI start scoring in singles, leaving 10 runs required of the last over! And in that eventful over, the wickets fall and RCB, the pre-match favourites, become the ultimate winners.

And further back, at 88/3 in the 14th over, Pollard is not sent in. Earlier, two greats of the game, Tendulkar and Ponting, having used up power-play overs and put their team in a precarious position at 62/2 in 10 overs. 

A mention about session scoring as well. In the second session (10 to 20 overs) of RCB innings, the scoring pattern went just opposite of that in the last match of DD vs KKR. The scoring in this session remained controlled such that the end score after 20 overs of 156 was (must have been) more than the maximum session score on offer during any point during these 10 overs.  

3/4/2013: DD vs KKR - First Match of IPL-6

How does fixing reveal itself in this match? Let us see. The odds given are betfair odds.

The ultimate winner of the match, KKR, were the pre-start favourites with odds of 1.72 or so in their favour. After the toss, the odds reduced to 1.64 or so and after the first wicket off the first ball, to 1.51 or so.  And the side favoured by the bookies won comfortably in a one sided contest throughout, except for a brief period, from the 3rd over to 5th over, when the 2nd wicket partnership between Jayawardene and Warner was progressing well. Then also mostly KKR remained favourite, though just for a few moments DD became favourite with odds of 1.95 or so in their favour during the 5th over. Then Warner’s wicket fell in the 6th over and from there onward it became a cakewalk for KKR with odds falling back to 1.6 in their favour. With score of 45/2 at the end of 6th over, and fair amount of batting and hitters to come, were these odds justified? The progress of the match from there on showed so.

In T20 matches, normally there are 2 sessions of 10 overs each in first batting and a session of first 6 (power-play) overs in the second batting. Let us assume it was so in this match. The scoring from 10 to 20 overs, with regular fall of wickets, from umpiring error (Botha) to batsmen getting caught out to lone fielders in the vicinity of their lofted shots, remained such that the ultimate score must have been less than the minimum on offer during any stage of this session. Such scoring pattern may not indicate anything to a casual viewer and in isolation. But repetition of such exceptional scoring pattern again and again in match after match does indicate manipulated scoring, and hence ball to ball fixing.

Not that scoring in other sessions was free and not manipulated. Try to understand what session betting is, think of it, and it will be easy to understand that existence of session betting itself is proof enough of ball to ball fixing, with involvement of all. Basically it is very very simple, once one's eyes are opened and one starts understanding.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

SL vs BD: 3rd and final ODI on 28th Mar and the only T20 on 31st Mar, 2013

Due to interruption in between due to rain, the 3rd and final ODI got rendered like a T20 game with revised target for BD being 183 in 27 overs. 

Batting first, SL had scored a comfortable 302/9. With first wicket partnership of SL itself, the odds in f/o SL had come down to 1.07 or so and stayed below that throughout their innings. the odds were below 1.06 at 212/2 in 37.5 overs and remained so even with score at 238/6 in 43.4 overs. Something inexplicable to me. But surely SL recovered well to score 64 runs further in the remaining 6.2 overs, something that must have been known to the bookies beforehand to justify their not changing the odds between 37.5 and 43.4 overs when runs were hardly scored and wicket after wicket was lost.

Well, BD started their chase with odds at about 1.05 in f/o SL. Even before loss of  Ashraful's wicket at 77/0 in the 13th over, the odds had stayed below 1.2 at about 1.18 in f/o SL. Then rain came with score at 78/1 in 13.4 overs and there was revised target of 183 in 27 overs as mentioned above on resumption, BD still requiring 105 runs in 13.2 overs, power-play overs gone and the most dangerous Ashraful gone. But by now  same bookies had developed a lot of faith in same BD, and odds had jumped to even i.e. around 2.0 in f/o SL from lowly 1.13 or so before the rain induced break. And BD went on to win from there on inspite of some hiccups, such that BD remained favourite to win (i.e. with odds of less than 2.0 in its favour) for rest of their innings till the finish. The bookies had foreseen correctly what was going to happen.

Hold on. Just 3 days after this ODI, there was the only T20 of the series between the two teams. Again SL batted first (put in to bat by BD this time) and scored a massive 198 for 5 in 20 overs, the odds in their favour hovering between 1.01 and 1.02. That is when commentators were telling repeatedly that a score of 180 also couldn't be considered safe on this very good batting pitch, and SL having to have the disadvantage of a wet ball as well, bowling second. But with a score of 68/2 in 7.5 overs, BD having scored 40 plus runs in last 4 overs, and Ashraful having hit 2 consecutive sixes in the over, and BD having comfortably won the last ODI, the odds still remained 1.04 or below in f/o SL. The bookies surely had to be the prophets to know what was going to happen, and they surely proved to be once again, the other way round this time.

On the very next ball, Ashraful was given out LBW by umpire on persistent appeal by the bowler, a decision which would put any one (even a lad) umpiring to shame, and one of the commentators immediately told that Ashraful was plumb LBW. Only afterwards, faced with the truth of recorded replays, the other commentators went on criticizing this decision. And then onwards the BD batsmen went on throwing their wickets at regular intervals, the suicide being completed with the run-out of Mahmudullah in the 15th over. At the end of the 14th over, with score at 132/4 and 67 runs required in 6 overs, an almost even possibility given the momentum and other circumstances at that stage, the odds in f/o SL were just 1.1 to 1.11. The odd-deciders had to be knowing something which others couldn't. That BD would be throwing wickets and losing the match comfortably.

The clinching point here, I would like to say so, to clearly show existence of match-fixing is the big contrast and the incongruity in the odds in the two matches, on resumption after rain in the ODI (around 2.0 in f/o SL) and at score of 68/2 in the T20 (1.04 or so) that followed a couple of days after, with SL not fielding a full strength side; and the way the two matches went thereafter. 

Some other interesting observations. In the ODI, Anamul Haque of BD played a well lofted stroke, but no fielder could reach it and the ball fell between the three fielders. On the very next ball, he again played a similar lofted stroke, in different area, and got out caught. In same match, the umpire acted just like a robot while giving Mahmudullah out LBW. He instantly raised his finger though there was absolutely no reason for the same.

In the T20, BD batsman Shamsur Rahman was given out LBW, though the ball clearly was too high to have hit the wickets. Though Mahmudullah absurdly got himself run out, while fielding he missed two comfortable run out opportunities through his bad throwing.

Please remember that all the time, the necessary manipulations in session scoring patterns are always going on side by side. It may not be humanly possible for one to keep track of all the sessions. In T20, the first 6 overs session in BD innings was similar one in which the score at end was less than the minimum on offer at any point of time during it. The 6-10 over session in SL innings was also like that. The first 6 overs session of that innings was of the opposite type.