Sunday, February 26, 2012

Arsenal v/s Tottenham

Arsenal 5 - 2 Tottenham!
What a day to be a gooner, ;)

The gunners hosted their north London rivals in the EPL this weekend after 2 consecutive losses. The spread was suspended by the 70th minute when Arsenal came from 2 goals behind to score 5 consecutive goals.

The graph shows how incredibly volatile the prices were.

Orissa in the Ranji Trophy

This team came in last place in the recently concluded Group A of the Ranji Trophy Elite league. Their 2011 season did not include a single win in 7 games; and all they had to show for their efforts were 3 draws among 4 losses.

The team's position at the bottom of the table is a clear function of a squad that mostly consists of bit players with poor stats. None of them are household names and one can't see this situation changing any time soon. Just 3 of their batsmen have a batting average above 30.0; while only 1 bowler has a bowling average below that.

On a positive note, any youngsters about to break into the state team can eagerly await a call-up as this is one side that's carrying a lot of deadwood. There should be quite a few spots available in this Orissa side by the start of the next season. Also, Orissa has a history of providing its youngsters with opportunities to play first-class cricket, and this squad had an average age at debut of just over 21.

The 16 member squad has an average age of 25, the youngest member is 20 while the oldest among them is 30. Their entire cumulative experience amounts to 251 matches over 61 seasons. The relative inexperience of the team is mostly on account of the inclusion of 5 debutants in the squad this season.

Players who should be let go:
The following 5 players have had the opportunities to prove themselves at this level, but haven't been able to make a case for continued selection in the future. Some of them have surprisingly poor stats and this may well be a reflection of the lack of competition for spots in this team. However, its about time some youngsters were blooded here, at any rate they'd have some difficulty being worse than these five.

  1. The oldest member of the team is 30 year-old Subit Biswal, who should be a very worried man. He made his debut in 2002 at the age of 20, but has played only 27 matches over the last 10 seasons. Having bowled only 18 deliveries at the first class level his primary role is very obviously that of a batsman. However, with a career batting average of only 22.93 he ranks only 132nd among all players in this league. I'd be very surprised to see him return for next season.
  2. Another candidate for relegation is 27 year-old Paresh Patel. Another lad who made his debut at the age of 20 in 2005, but has played only 17 matches over the last 7 seasons. Paresh has a batting average of just 24.59 from 27 innings and 8 wickets at almost 71 runs apiece. He comes in at 127th in the batting average ranks.
  3. 27 year-old Bikas Pati is a batsman with an incredible average of just 19.35 from 48 innings. His first-class career has spanned 30 matches over 6 seasons. How he managed to keep his spot so long is definitely a point to ponder. He ranks 150th in the batting averages, and with just 20 legal deliveries to his name he doesn't make a case for inclusion as a part-time bowler either.
  4. Dhiraj Singh, a 25 year-old spin bowler made his debut in 2008. Since then he has a tally of 45 wickets from 17 matches at a very expensive average of 41.56 apiece, which puts him outside the top 100 bowlers in the league.
  5. Preetamjit Das is a 26 year-old medium pacer who doesn't get too many matches. He made his debut in 2006 but has played only 11 games since then. With a haul of 25 wickets at an expensive 34.60 runs apiece he ranks 74th in the league. He gets his wickets at an average of 2.27 every match, has an economy rate over 3.1 per over and strikes every 66 deliveries. He just might be able to hang onto his place if there aren't any decent young bowlers pushing for a place in the state team.

A rare bright spot in this dreary mire

  1. 26 year-old medium pacer Basant Mohanty is a rarity in this team, he's ranked 10th in the overall bowling averages. Having made his debut at 21, he's now played 34 matches over 5 seasons. With 125 wickets at 23.54 runs each, he averages 3.68 wickets per match, leaks only 2.44 runs every over and gets a wicket every 57.8 deliveries. At this level, Basant ranks at 13th for wickets per match and at 14th for his economy.

Watch-list candidates:
These players should be on notice to raise their performance levels, but considering that there is so much dross to get rid off before the next season they might well be safe.

  1. 24 year-old Natraj Behera is easily the best batsman in the team. With 15 matches from 4 seasons, he has an average of 40.52 from 25 innings, which ranks him in the top 50 batsmen in the league.
  2. Another 24 year-old Biplab Samantray made his debut in 2010. He has played 16 matches over 2 seasons, with an average of 33.52 from 26 innings, which places him at 85th spot.
  3. Subhrajit Sahoo is a 24 year-old batsman with an average of 29.26 from 24 innings over the last 3 seasons, which places him outside the top 100 batsmen in the league.
  4. Halhadar Das, the 26 year-old wicket keeper averages 2.97 catches every match but manages a stumping only once every 10 games, which may well be an indictment of the quality of spinners in the squad. He is handy with a bat and has a batting average of 32.59 from 52 innings. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Olympiakos v/s Arsenal - Champions League

Arsenal to win / draw @ 2.75

A tempting price on offer due to a younger and relatively inexperienced version of a gunner team playing away in Greece. With the home team facing a potential spot in the pre-quarters, they will be very up for the game as will their support. Which Arsenal team turns up will pretty much decide the outcome.

Half-time update: Olympiakos 2 - 0 Arsenal

The graph below shows how the spreads moved during the first half an hour of the game. The second goal widened the spreads so far that I haven't bothered depicting it here.

Full-time update: Olympiakos 3 - 1 Arsenal

Unfortunately, the crappy second string turned up for the gunners. The price on Arsenal to win became laughable after the first 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carling Cup Quarterfinals - Arsenal v/s Manchester City

I really should have taken a position on City to win / draw; but didn't considering Arsenal were playing at home. The only player on the field who noticed the home fans was probably Nasri, as he got booed everytime he got anywhere near the ball. The usually sedate Arsenal home crowd was in good voice throughout the game just for heckling him. Anyways, the movement of the spreads doesn't show it, but the match flowed both ways, with both teams having opportunities to get ahead. Only a late defensive lapse by Arsenal led to their exit here.

Prices on Arsenal to win reached ridiculous levels (upwards of 30.00) after City scored the only goal in the game.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Arsenal v/s Borussia Dortmund

Arsenal to win / draw @ 1.5

The gunners really should seal their spot in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a win at home.

Half-time update: 0-0
The price doesn't really reflect the Germans efforts so far. The visitors have done well to pierce the Arsenal defense on quite a few occasions. Their supporters have also been in better voice than the usual insipid home crowd at the Emirates.

Full-time update: Arsenal 2 - 1 Borussia Dortmund
The second half was a completely different game. Arsenal came into their own, scored 2 goals and (being Arsenal) took their foot off the gas to let the German side get a consolation goal, during injury time. I stopped tracking all prices by the 80th minute, and in fact the price on Dortmund to win became ridiculous by the 65th minute itself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

England v/s Sweden - friendly at Wembley 2

England to win @ 1.80

After their very Italian style victory against the World champions last weekend, this English side should be odds on favourites for a victory against the visiting Swedes this evening. In fact, i'll go out on a limb here and state that the prices offered for a home victory are worth taking on and i'd expect these to reduce over the course of the match.

Half-time update: England 1 - 0 Sweden
The above graph of the prices tells the story of a one way match. The spreads took off after the 25th minute, thanks to an own goal by the Swedish. In fact, the spread should have been even wider with England at least 3 goals up. However, quite a few botched chances have kept the Swedes in this game and I wouldn't rule out an equaliser.

Full-time update: England 1 - 0 Sweden

The spreads continued to widen in the second half, though nothing material really happened. The English couldn't get another goal, and the Swedes had a few shots at the target too. I stopped tracking the price on a Swedish victory as early as the 65th minute; the runaway prices (at one point in the game it was over 100:1) were playing havoc with the scales on the graph.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

England v/s Spain - friendly at Wembley

Spain to win / draw @ 1.30

A weakened English side should pose no difficulty to the all conquering Spanish (Barcelona) side. Got to feel for Capello, chap's missing the wedding of his son for this.

Half-time update: 0-0 at Wembley

Surprisingly flat at Wembley in the first half. The Spanish have dominated possession but have nothing to show for their efforts as yet. They're looking more like Arsenal rather than Barcelona. I could fancy England to steal a goal here, against the run of play.

Full-time: Spain lose!

As surmised, England scored early in the second half and never looked in trouble after that. A little luck along the way did help, of course. As evident in the above graph, the spreads crossed as soon as the goal went in and got progressively worse. Tough on the world champions, and the Arsenal quip I made earlier turned out to have rung true.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pakistan v/s Sri Lanka - 1st ODI

Either team to win @ 1.90 each

Pak host SL in their adopted home ground in the UAE. The markets are undecided on a favourite as of now, but I believe this match will swing both ways over its course. I'll post updates on the price movements during the game.

Early half-time update: SL bowled out in 40 overs
The price has just moved one way in this match. The Lankans kept losing wickets at regular intervals and never really got a partnership going. Its hard to see this game becoming interesting, but the Dubai Sports City pitch is a slow one and might well get worse during the 2nd innings. With 131 on the board SL are definitely quite a few runs short, but I wouldn't put it past Pakistan to have a batting collapse.

Full-time update: SL lose!

The spread just got progressively wider, as the Pakistanis never got their foot of the accelerator. Good win for the guys in green to start the series, and it should pull in a few more of their supporters to the grounds. On the plus side, the prices for the next game will be better than those at the start of this one.