Ed Hawkins says India will have to undergo a personality change if the value is to be beaten at Headingley on Tuesday
"How can one possibly predict that a team will, essentially, give up with about 10-15 overs to play. Maddening"
India's 'chase' of England's 322 at Lord's on Saturday resembled a fat guy attempting to run after a bus, taking a couple of steps and then spying a comfy bench to lounge on for the rest of the afternoon. It was not their most athletic attempt to win a game of cricket.
The booing of MS Dhoni by the Headquarters faithful was almost as surprising as India's lethargy. So much for partisanship. India are gun chasers when all is well and their excuses about not wanting to be beaten too heavily must go down as one of the more bizarre post-match explanations.
When Dhoni walked in after Virat Kohli was dismissed, India were still - just about - in the game with eight an over required. When he was out 20 overs later the rate had doubled. India failed to hit a six for the first time in an ODI since the 2011 World Cup. They also managed only 16 fours in the whole innings. That is about eight fewer than their average over the last months.
It is the sort of tactical misjudgement which will infuriate punters. How can one possibly predict that a team will, essentially, give up with about 10-15 overs to play? Maddening.
If all is fair in love and war at Headingley tomorrow, the averages should still be used as an accurate guide, however. Lord's, surely, was a Black Swan event which will surely not be repeated. Indeed, the Leeds wicket looks hard and flat and there have been big runs scored there in the past, as discussed in our match preview.
Certainly Betfair Sportsbook reckon that the batters will dominate. They have priced up total fours and sixes for both teams. There is a strong case for shorting pretty much all of them. The lazy way (like that fat guy) would be to play overs.
England are rated at even money and 8/11 for over/under 7.5 sixes and 4/5 and 10/11 for over/under 25.5 fours. There is precious little evidence to reckon overs is a wager on the sixes market. Over the last 12 months England average 6.3 sixes per game, six in the last two years and 5.6 in the last three years. In the last 12 months they have hit over 7.5 sixes seven times in 23 matches. That's just 30 per cent of the time.
As for the fours, England average 25.1 in the last 12 months, 25.2 in the last two years and 24.5 in the last three. They have busted the mark 11 times (23 matches).
Sportsbook rate India at even money and 8/11 over/under 6.5 sixes and 4/5 and 10/11 over/under 25.5 fours. Over the last 12 months India average 4.5 sixes per match, five over the last two years and 4.9 over the last three years. In the last 12 months (24 matches) they have struck over 6.5 sixes six times. So 75 per cent of the time they go under 6.5 This strongly suggests they should be shorter than 8/11.
As far as fours are concerned, they average 24.2 over the last 12 months, 23.9 over the last two years and 23.2 over the last three. Eight times (24 matches) in the last 12 months have they busted 25.5.
It is possible that India veer from one extreme to the other after Lord's and go on some sort of six- and four-hitting frenzy. The Black Swan's twin. But the numbers, and they are weighty, suggest not.
More evidence comes in the ground records at Leeds. In only three innings of the last eight has a side hit more than 6.5 sixes. Likewise for the number of fours totalling over 25.5.
2018 - points p-l: +0.59 (50 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)
(1pt level stakes)