Glenn Maxwell looked primed to take another top-bat win and land us a walloping good winner on Thursday. Aaron Finch was back in the hutch and there was little to beat. Only a moderate Maxi special was required. But then he got out. Hurrumph.
Do we hold a grudge? Do we stomp off in a huff? Nope. We get back on the Maxwell train and take the 5/1 Sportsbook offer. As discussed in our match preview, Australia are having an injury crisis. Aaron Finch is a doubt, so is Marcus Stoinis, David Warner is out and Alex Carey has been rested. There’s very little for Maxwell to beat.
And the price is good. Maxwell is copping at 29%. Sportsbook rate his chances at 16.7%. So we know we are getting value. However, it is worth pointing out that the relationship between those numbers and Maxwell not getting an absolute peach early on or making a mistake is hard to fathom. There is no guarantee of anything. We are just trying to give ourselves the best possible chance of a winner by only betting on a price we have discovered to be incorrect. If he doesn’t win, that is our comfort blanker.
Where there is a discernible connection is the man of the match award. A top runscorer often sways the judges, whoever they may be. And it does seem bizarre that in this age of data obsession that match gongs are not distributed in a more scientific way. True, the old days of a sponsor sozzled on spritzers making the call are gone but there is still an unhealthy dose of mystery surrounding awards.
What we do know is that it’s a batsman’s game. Eight of the top ten players in T20i the ‘most man of the match awards’ list are batters. At No 2 is Virat Kohli. He has 12 wins in 83, giving him a 14.4% chance. Sportsbook rate him at 8/1, which gives us an edge of just over three percentage points. Maxwell has five in 65 but the 12/1 is absolutely bang on the money.
Australia last two years top bat wins/matches
Finch 6 1t/31
Pandey a bet
Maxwell might have let us down but KL Rahul did not. He triumphed for the eighth time in 26. This is a record which makes him more reliable than Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. Hopefully he will continue to be underrated by the layers for a while longer.
The 11/4 that Sportsbook is value by the letter of the law, but we have a tendency to swerve a player when they are going for back-to-back wins, just because we know the hit rate dips in game two.
Fret not, though. There is value elsewhere. Manish Pandey remains at 14/1. He batted at No 5 in the first game and we will have some of that. Our data has him priced at closer to 5/1.
Batting at three down, of course, limits his time at the crease. But we are hopeful that the SCG wicket, which has been bowler-friendly in the past, could mean that he gets in early with little to beat.
Kohli is the 11/4 joint favourite. That’s not far of value. We give him a 25% chance and Sportsbook 26.7%. Perhaps if Rahul wins again, we might be able to get an edge in our favour on the great man for game three with a decent drift.
India – top bat wins/matches
Rohit 10 1t/38
Dhawan 6 1t/33
KL Rahul 8/26
Top bowler wins/matches
Bumrah 2 4t/26
Kuldeep 5 3t/18
Chahal 6 6t/30
Hardik 2 t/21