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The impatient, undisciplined batting of the West Indies may not help them win their One Day International series versus India but it can help punters make money out of the games.
Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was so disgusted at what he saw in the recent Test series between India and the Windies that he said that his old team batted as if their top order looked drunk on Twenty20 cricket. Basically, the West Indies batsman played unconventional shots and did not make India’s bowlers work for their wickets. The West Indies lost the First Test against India by an innings and 51 runs and they slumped to another innings defeat in the Second Test that was Sachin Tendulkar’s international swansong.
India is short odds to win its First One Day International versus the West Indies – the home side is available at odds of 1.40 with William Hill – and India is even more prohibitively priced to triumph in the best-of-three-match series William Hill again, quoting the home side at odds of 1.29. It is impossible to bet against India on either market.
This year India has played 29 One Day International games for 20 wins, seven losses and two no-results. Limited-overs cricket is much more about batting than it is about bowling so it is significant that five of the top 17 batsmen in the One Day International rankings are Indians – Virat Kohli (first), MS Dhoni (sixth), Shikhar Dhawan (11th), Rohit Sharma (15th) and Suresh Raina (17th). The top-ranked West Indies batsman is the enigmatic Chris Gayle in 35th spot.
India is well clear at the top of the One Day International rankings on 123 rating points. The West Indies is miles off the pace in seventh position on 89 rating points, with its poor 2013 results contributing to its predicament. This year the West Indies have played 20 One Day International matches for seven wins, 11 losses and two ties. However, if one does not count games versus Zimbabwe, the West Indies have won only four of their 17 One Day International games in 2013.
With regards to First One Day International exotics, the top pick is backing the West Indies to score more sixes than its host at odds of 2.30 with Coral. Given the carefree manner in which the West Indies approaches limited-overs matches, one would have thought that the Windies would be the hot favourite on this line and that was even before flicking through scorecards from their recent games against India.
The scorecards serve only to strength the case for backing the West Indies to hit more balls over the boundary rope than India in the First One Day International. The West Indies and India have met three times already this year – once in England and twice in the Caribbean. India won their first 2013 meeting by eight wickets at The Oval but the West Indies won the sixes battle 8-1. The West Indies beat India by one wicket at Sabina Park and the Windies scored eight sixes compared to India’s three. Finally, India defeated the West Indies by 102 runs at Queen’s Park Oval. Even though India batted for 50 overs and bad weather meant that the West Indies had their allocation reduced to 39 overs, the Windies managed eight sixes compared to India’s five.
Bookmakers betting on the First One Day International sixes market have installed India as the exotic favourite because it is the favourite to win the match. One can understand why bookmakers have made that call but it is incorrect, because of not only recent head-to-head results but also the styles of the respective teams. The West Indies should be odds on to score more sixes in the First One Day International than India so Coral’s odds of 2.30 should be snapped up quickly.
Lloyd and other West Indies legends can say whatever they like about Gayle and company but the current Windies batsmen are not going to change overnight. Some of them do not want to change and some of them are incapable of changing.