Saturday, May 18, 2013

Match after the Scandal

Kings XI Punjab 171/4 (20/20 ov); Delhi Daredevils 164/7 (20/20 ov)
Kings XI Punjab won by 7 runs

It was the first match held after the arrests of the playing IPL players of Rajasthan Royals including Sreesanth. If one would have thought that this match had to be clean and couldn't be fixed, one couldn't be farther from the truth. The small irritants of sting operations and police becoming active out of nowhere, haven't had any effect on the much larger picture of continuous staged cricket in the past, and didn't have any effect this time also. 

DD won the toss and put the opposition in, to lose the match as comfortably as they have been losing most of their matches this season. The last season they were on the top of the table. 

KXIP batted well to start with, slumped in middle overs, and scored heavily in last 5 overs (68 runs), in contrast to what they had been doing in most of the matches this season. Some may find/claim it to be natural, but not those who understand session betting.

When DD start batting chasing 171, what would a punter expect? Obviously expectation will be for them to score well in the first 6 overs of power play, these overs constituting the session as well. And what happens? They score only 11 runs in 2.3 overs even before losing a wicket, after losing one score only 1 run in next 6 balls before losing the pinch hitter, who had otherwise been batting well and hitting sixes in his last few outings. Then the captain Warner walks in and very clearly gives catching practice to one of the slips. DD are 12/3 in 4 overs, and a mere 21/3 in the session of 6 power-play overs. What is being termed as spot-fixing by media and others is this session-fixing, that covers most of the match. And if it is taking place all the time as it is coming out of the scandal, it is clear that total fixing is taking place. Let us not deceive ourselves.

When DD required 61 runs of last 4 overs, the odds were less than 1.10 in f/o KP, and they lost one-sided as expected, Jayawardene losing wicket first ball after the break by controlling power of his shot to hit straight to the fielder. The margin of 7 runs would make one feel that it was a close match, but it wasn't. Most of the runs were scored by DD towards the end when match had gone out of their reach, the odds remaining below 1.05 in last 3 overs. 

The other day, when MI required to score at about same rate against SRH, the odds were as high as 1.35 in f/o SRH, and MI went on to win that match, the batsmen hitting sixes/fours off virtually every  ball at will against one of the best bowling teams of the tournament.

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