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.

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