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.  

No comments: