Kohli and Bairstow value for top dog

India v England
Friday 26 March 08.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Match gong bias

If you ever needed proof that cricket is a batsman’s game - and particularly the white-ball format - take a look at the list of players with most man of the match awards. Not until number 25 on the list does a bowler appear - South Africa’s Shaun Pollock.

The bias towards bat over the ball is one of the oldest in the game. And it is why when betting on the man of the match gong, you have to have a very good reason indeed to consider getting with a bowler. And not because they are less likely to perform well. Whatever they do, they are often overlooked for a pretty-looking 60 or 70 by a batter.

Take Bhuv Kumar’s performance in the first match in Pune as an example. As discussed in our match preview, the Pune surface is a road, so bowling is, frankly, a nightmare. And yet Kumar produced a highly-skilled display of white-ball bowling, taking two wickets and conceding just 30 runs in his nine overs.

In a contest when bowlers were razed by batsman (consider England’s run rate of 5.95 and Kumar’s 3.3) it is clear to us at least that the man who actually produced the crucial contribution was India’s new-ball bowler. Not Shikhar Dhawan who biffed wayward trundlers on a flat-track.

Rather than be irked that Kumar’s craft is ignored, make this ignorance pay. It would be folly to look past batsmen for the match gong. Our first call is Virat Kohli, then.

Kohli is number three on the all-time list. Sportsbook rate him at 6/1, which is bang in line with his career win rate of 14.3%. So no edge? Well, only if you think Kohli has the same win chance on a green top in New Zealand as he does on a Pune road with the faithful making the decision. Rohit Sharma is 7/1 but with only a 10% win rate it is hard to justify taking such odds.

The best way to bet Rohit is to follow him again for top runscorer at 11/4. There is a nine-point swing in our favour about the most reliable ODI batter in the world. Jonny Bairstow gives a two-point implied probability edge at 9/1 for England for man of the match.

India top bat wins/matches
Rohit 25/70
Kohli 19/70
Dhawan 16/63
Hardik 4/51
Rahul 3/28

India top bowler wins/matches
Bhuv 7 8t/54
Bumrah 8 10t/54
Kuldeep 13 13t/60
Chahal 9 4t/49
Hardik 6t/50
Shami 7 3t/27
Jadeja 3/35

Stokes underrated

Ben Stokes came to the fore with ball, rather than bat, in game one. This was bad news for us as we were on him for highest England runscorer honours.

Stokes’s top bowler success was a surprise and was only his second win in 42 attempts. He has had a disappointing series with the bat and we’re in a quandary about retaining faith.

What swings it for us is Sportsbook taking a strong view. They clearly reckon Stokes is knackered so have pushed him out from 7/2 to 9/2 for this second match.

On win percentages, we have Stokes down a shade bigger than 4/1. We took a risk at the 7/2 because we felt that Sportsbook had not factored in his chances at number three.

England top bat wins/matches
Bairstow 13 1t/58
Morgan 9/63
Root 9 1t/63
Roy 9/53
Stokes 9/42
Ali 1/56
Buttler 6 1t/58
Woakes 1/40
Billings 2/11

England top bowler wins/matches
Rashid 7 11t/63
Root 5t/63
Woakes 6 9t/42
Wood 2 6t/40
Ali 3 5t/53
T Curran 3 1t/21
Stokes 2 5t/42


India v England ODI series analysis on Cricket…Only Bettor

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