Twenty years on from one of their biggest ever losses, Sporting Index has returned with the infamous ‘World Cup wides market’, which saw the spread betting firm lose over half a million pounds in the 1999 Cricket World Cup.
The World Cup wides market, pioneered by Sporting Index, was introduced for the first time in 1999 and has been available to punters in every Cricket World Cup tournament since, but traders (as well as bowlers) underestimated how much this would swing in English conditions.
That year’s tournament saw the introduction of the white ball in the Cricket World Cup for the first time, and Sporting Index initially predicted there would be 255 wides in the 42-game tournament, which was quickly pounced on by the betting community.
After the dust settled on the 979th and final wide of the tournament, Sporting Index traders were left licking their wounds, with the company facing huge losses of £500,000.
This year, the trading team returns to the site of its greatest loss, and after 20 years’ experience in the white-ball game, have priced this year’s wides at 715.
Prior to the white ball introduction, World Cup teams averaged 8.15 wides each per game, compared to 16.7 per team with the white ball. There was also an average of 817 wides per tournament with the white ball, compared to 300 per game before its adoption.
The largest number of wides bowled in a single World-Cup game came in India’s win over Kenya in 1999, with the two sides bowling 52 wides between them.
As for the tournament itself, Sporting Index is predicting that there will be 535 total sixes during the tournament and that Eoin Morgan’s England side will contribute 80 of these. The spread betting firm are also estimating that 45 batsmen will score centuries during the 48 matches.
Neville Burdock, Head of Trading at Sporting Index, said: “The 1999 Cricket World Cup wides market was an absolute disaster for us, and a real celebration for punters. This year, we are willing to take on the wides market again but will be pricing the total at 715 across the tournament.
“With tactical, disciplined bowling more prevalent than ever, we expect significantly less wides than the 979 that stung us 20 years ago, but with a new ball at each end, maybe a few more than the original 255 that was first predicted with the red ball.”