Did India really lose against Sri Lanka in Calcutta on Saturday? After all, the match was abandoned when 15 overs were yet to be bowled, notwithstanding Clive Lloyd’s decision to give Sri Lankans a walkover. One may find this argument inane but for the fact that a fair number of punters in Mumbai who had accepted bets for the India vs. Sri Lanka match are now refusing to pay on the grounds that the match was abandoned and that the Sri Lanka won by default.
The satta bazaar players in Mumbai are now divided with one group stoutly refusing to accept that India lost the match. India could have batted on for another 90 balls, they point out.
“Look, it is true that India was in a hopeless position and even if it was allowed to complete its allotted overs, there was little chance for our country to win. But India never lost. Sri Lanka won by default. So why should I pay? Said Shreyas Patel, a leading satta player in Mumbai who accepted heavy bets in favour of India.
Initially the odds were in India’s favour during its match with Sri Lanka in Delhi. The odds were 35:100 for India and 2:1 for Sri Lanka during Delhi match. However, with Lankans consistently putting up good performances, the betting improved in their favour and the odds were being quoted 70:100 for Indians and 11:10 for Sri Lankans.
On the other hand, odds were in favour of Australia in its match against West Indies. However, the general feeling in the satta bazaar in Mumbai was that it would be an India vs. Australia final.
That the punters in Mumbai found many takers for Sri Lanka despite India’s win against Pakistan was reflected in the estimated Rs.100Crore (total amount at stake) that was being betted when India took on Lankans at Calcutta.
By and large, those had betted on Sri Lanka received patronizing sympathy from all those who had put their bets on India.
It was indeed a brave soul, at least in India, who felt that Sri Lankans had any chance against India. Naturally, when Indian cricketers on Saturday started committing hara-kiri a section of Indians felt very glad that lady luck was smiling on them. After all for them it was dhandha (business) time.
Imagine their horror when many of those bookies who had gladly accepted their bets earlier refused to pay up. And they have a reason.
“See in satta bazaar, we made a rule some years ago-when a key match was abandoned in Sharjah it was decided that tie will not be taken into account,” said Pankaj Shah, another bookie, explaining the precedent because of which bookies are refusing to pay up.
However, another section of bookies strongly feels that this is merely a ploy by “poor losers” who do not want to cough up money.
“What are these losers talking about? Abandoned or not India was in miserable position. And Sri Lanka was officially declared the victor,” said a punter who wanted to remain unidentified.
There are rumours doing the rounds here that a part of the aggressiveness and violence in Eden Gardens was premeditated by a section of those who wanted the match to be abandoned.
By Ketan Narottam Tanna