29. April 2010 23:10
Regular listeners may know that I am partial to a flutter, especially when a match does not lend itself to automatic excitement. I have been looking at a few bets for the World T20 which starts tomorrow. To start with the first two matches in tournament are NZ vs Sri Lanka and then WI vs Ireland.
For NZ vs SL I think the result is a tough one to call as both sides have some good spin bowling (Vettori & Nate McCullum vs Murali & Mendis - when you put it like that it hardly seems a contest!). My favourite bet here is for Scott Styris (yes really, Styris) to beat the over 30.5 points on cricketbetlive.com. This has 1pt per Run, 10pts per Catch, 20pts per Wicket, 25pts per Stumping so just 11 runs and 1 wicket wins you this bet at odds of 1.9 (9/10) which sounds good when you think he managed 83 points in the warm up vs WI (4 wickets and 3 runs). Another one that is tempting here is Tilikeratne Dilshan under 21.5 runs at 1.9 given his disappointing IPL form (also cricketbetlive.com). On bet365.com you can go for top team batsman and anyone but Dilshan looks tempting here, especially Jayasuriya (6.0) who will be able to handle good spin bowling and smack it and Angelo Matthews if you're feeling lucky at 11.00.
For WI vs Ireland it's a tougher call. Ireland lack any quality spin option and are going to get smashed all tournament. I'm tempted by Keiron Pollard under 34.5 (ie he takes less than 2 wickets) given he probably won't get a bat but it's too risky that the Irish hole out to his dobbers in a vain attempt to keep up with the run rate. I like Shiv Chanderpaul over 26.5 runs at 1.9, batting first he has the head on him to not go mental on what will be a tough pitch and batting 2nd chasing an inevitably low total I like him to guide them home.
More generally for the rest of the tournament skybet.com has Sangakkara at 20/1 to be top batsman in the tournament and if you fancy SL to get to the semis at least then this is good value. I don't think England have the balls to win crunch matches abroad so I'd be happy to lay them at 10/1 on betfair.com whilst NZ have the ability to surprise with some seasoned performers, some hitters and only the lack of a really sharp pace bowler holding them back (25/2 on betfair).
Please note that my past performance (taking £50 off Daniel in the IPL semi) is no guide to future perfrormance and your returns are likely to go down more than up.
29. April 2010 20:08
Ah the humanity! Cricket is in crisis. The IPL wasn't, after all, the benevolent brainchild of a one off philanthropic Colossus. Lalit Modi wasn't Attlee designing the welfare state but rather David Cameron scheming to give the top 1.2% of the population some extra money through inheritance tax exemption (I'm sorry, I'll stop this in a week). The Mr. F blimp wasn't a kindly donation by Hindu businessman to give us a better view. The Max Headroom strategic time out wasn't a kindly gesture designed to save the aching limbs of our exploited and exhausted gladiator heroes. The Shitty Moment of Success wasn't a subliminal message to the kids to get off the streets, hand over their knives (they've all got them), stop chewing crack and start helping elderly WW2 veterans get to their naval reunions on time.
But out of despair rises hope in the shape of the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. And there is much to relish. I can't wait to see Afghanistan at a senior tournament for the first time. They're good. Better than Ireland and Holland. And if the Indians underestimate them, as they are wont to do (see the first four days of the test series against Bangladesh this year), there could be a delicious shock.
Watching South Africa grumble and crumble under the weight of bizarre expectation is always a pleasure. And this could be Murali's last hurrah on the world stage. The Windies have a real chance to make a splash on their own grounds with match winners like Gayle, Pollard, Bravo and Roach in their line up, not to mention the much underrated Mr. Benn. Can Pakistan hope to prosper without their senior players or will they lose the title of World Champions in less than a year? And of course England's inevitable loss to the Irish will please many.
However, my pick for the final is Australia v New Zealand. A chance for this most parochial of rivalries to provide redemption for the shotest form of the game. The Kiwis meander round world cricket with the appearance of emotionally troubled academics spending their spare time in botanical gradens taking Latin notes and writing them up in candlelight beneath cream tarpaulins. This Australian team on the other hand are possibly the most proletarian side in world sport. Wearing toothless 14th century grins and seemingly covered by axe wound scars, they communicate in either grunts, excessively hearty laughter or with a jovial back slap that could dislodge a kidney stone and all that notwithstanding the extraordinary omission of Doug Bollinger who spends his off season getting pin money as a grotesquely ugly extra in the latest Terry Gilliam medieval epic.
Alan Turing v. Roberto Duran, therefore, is my prediction. And if you disagree (or even if you don't) go to www.sportguru.co.uk/t20 enter the pool code "wormchew" and test your Nostradamian skills against me.
What do you mean hypocrite? Now the IPL has been so terribly discredited it behoves the ethical institition that is the Sofa to pick up the baton of product placement.
23. April 2010 08:20
The Sofa has been warming up for the new cricket season by covering the closing games of IPL 3 his week. And what jolly good fun it has been.
When you cross the threshold into the masonic lodge that is Sofa command, you never know what is going to confront you. Of course, some things are taken as given. Discarded Stella cans, tick. Clouds of smoke of Icelandic proportions, natch. And Jarod poking Tom with a sharp shitty stick.
Mike popped in for the first game, filming the Sofa's take on "The Hurt Locker": shouty men with borderline personality disorders performing heroic work in difficult circumstances and trying not to get killed (shurely "sued"? - ed) in doing so. Give the man an Oscar! Manny was in residence, resplendent in his TMS t-shirt and, er, necktie. I assume the tie was for the camera rather than the Sofa's silverback indulging in acts of auto-erotic asphyxiation in the mid-innings break. Ubergruppenfuhrer Danny had also been rifling through the dressing up box, sporting a titfer and ebullient shirt - think less George Clooney, more Captain Sensible. And also, as part of the Sofa's remit to innovate, Dev watched part of the Mumbai-Bangalore game in a pair of Lennon shades, trialling our Avatar-inspired 3-d glasses for enhanced listening pleasure. They'll be available for our listeners to download soon. Sod the t'interweb player, this is cutting edge technology. Oh! Sofia's shoes. How could I forget the shoes. Turquoise bliss! It was clearly too much for Dave the Bard, tuning in from his bathtub, busily soaping his bits as the Mumbai innings, er, climaxed. And who can blame him?
One notable absentee has been the Zoob, A conscientious objector when it comes to the trifles of the Twenty 20 game. he's been confined to an internment camp on the Sussex borders, left alone with Dame Kiri to bake greengage muffins and play Sibelius on his harpsichord. Hopefully we'll see him soon.
All this mayhem will be up on youtube soon - today, right Dev? Lend us your ears and, to quote a knight of the realm, "give us your effing money" and join us for the IPL final on Sunday from 1545!