Hawk Eye on Australia v India First T20: Bet on big brains rather than big bats

Virat Kohli
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Ed Hawkins wonders why India are underrated with the bat for game one in Brisbane and suggests a play on the most fours market is shrewd...

"It could be that Australia’s reputation still goes before them despite all evidence to the contrary. Okay, the match odds markets have caught up but it could take a while for the side markets to do likewise"

Australia v India
Wednesday, 07:50 GMT
Live on BT Sport

Classy India

We don't have all the numbers squirreled away in a dusty, impenetrable old file somewhere but we're pretty confident that the number of times India have been odds-on to beat Australia away from home in any format are slim. But sub [2.00] they are for game one in the three-match Twenty20 series in Brisbane on Wednesday.

As we said in our match preview, we concur. India are stronger on recent form (two defeats in a year) and their batting and bowling options are formidable. To labour the point, it is widely accepted, no doubt even by the Aussies themselves who find hubris a simple scam, that India are the better outfit.

So why is it that India are considered the outsiders in the sixes match bet market? Betfair Sportsbook make then a 6/5 chance to outsix Australia, who are the 10/11 jollies with the tie at 6s.

With India favourites to win the match they should surely be favourites to win the six battle. It is, in a way, the game within the game. India's bowlers are meanner, more disciplined, thus denying maximum chances. Their batsmen are cannier, more powerful than their confidence-wrecked opponents.

As you can see from our chart below, India have more 'muscle'. They average 7.2 sixes per game in the last 12 months compared to Australia's 5.75. India travel well in this regard, too. The average dips to only 7 per game in the last two years.

India are also outsiders to hit most fours. Here they have a bigger per-game advantage. Betfair Sportsbook go even money about India with Australia 10/11. The tie is 10/1.

What is the reason for this peculiar discrepancy? It could be that Australia's reputation still goes before them despite all evidence to the contrary. Okay, the match odds markets have caught up but it could take a while for the side markets to do likewise.

There is even perhaps a little bit of cultural bias at play. The Aussies, by contrast, are physical man mountains who eat jars of vegemite for breakfast and then devour an entire chiller's worth of meats on the barbie in the afternoon. The Indians are considered a leaner, more subtle bunch.

It is, of course, nonsense. India are hitting the ball further and faster because they have technical superiority. They time the ball better. We're happy to bet on brains beating brawn.

Sixes/fours averages last 12 months
Australia 5.75/11.5
India 7.2/14.9

Rahul could be outstainding bet

What we dread about India T20 matches is trying to decipher their top runscorer market. Who will bat and where can make a mockery of the most analysed and rationale selection.

We would absolutely love to nail KL Rahul at an inflated 5/1 with Betfair Sportsbook here. But we have no idea where he will bat. It could be anywhere in the top four. He might no even play, which is crazy considering he's the top-rated Indian in the world at No 4 in the ICC ratings.

Rahul, statistically, cops with regularity of a 3/1 chance. That's a pretty chunky edge in our favour, although most of those have come when he's been opening. Virat Kohli is the jolly in the market at 13/5 as you would expect. But he could bat at No 4. His real odds should be 7/4. Rohit Sharma, rated higher by the ICC than Kohli and assured of his opening role, is 11/4 (real odds 12/5) and Shikhar Dhawan is 7/2, which is pretty much bang on what he should be.

Hawk-Eye P-L

2018 - points p-l: +0.54 (77 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)

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