Ed Hawkins opens the database to work out where the value lies on the side markets for game two in Sydney on Sunday
"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"
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