By Sanjeev Pal
New Delhi: On the eve of the World Cup semi-final clash between India and New Zealand, the betting bazaars in Delhi have gone crazy: the police estimates that the bids in the illegal satta (betting) market could have crossed the Rs 150-crore mark in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Punters, mostly from the trading class, and bookies linked to underworld syndicates are known to have wider network in Delhi's adjoining towns of Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurugram.
Delhi Police have put their electronic surveillance in top gear.
"We are taking all measures to monitor the satta operators in the wake of the crucial India-New Zealand semi-final match on Tuesday," Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma told IANS.
"We are keeping a tab on five star hotels and guest houses, particularly in Karol Bagh and Old Delhi area that are hired by big-time punters. These operators have strong networks, which are often difficult to crack, but we are on the job.
"On previous occasions, the police arrested top bookies from north Delhi, who had a sophisticated internet software of betting linked with mobile phones."
Police sources said odds were placed on New Zealand as India seem the favourites in Tuesday's tie. The bids are not only placed on who wins, but also over-to-over and ball-to-ball.
Individual bids are placed on who will take maximum wickets or who will hit the most sixes. The betting starts right at the toss.
"Most punters place their bids on which team will win the toss. Besides, after winning the toss, bids are placed on the decision of the captain, whether he would decide to bat or field. This time the base betting rate on Team India is Rs 4.35 and Rs 49 on New Zealand," a punter from West Delhi told IANS.
The punters in the capital's satta market -- in Khari Baoli, Karol Bagh, Old Delhi and South Delhi's guest houses and big hotels -- are siding with Team India. But they have not handed them a clean sweep, like in the 2011 World Cup as New Zealand is also a strong competitor this time.
"Like every year during IPL matches, in this World Cup, most college-going youth, businessmen, hoteliers, cricket lovers, traders, corporate women and hawala operators are betting with us. Over 60 per cent bidders are in favour of India's victory. That means thumbs-up for skipper Virat Kohli and his team," a punter told IANS.
Bets are also being placed on the margin of victory in terms of runs and wickets and also on whether runs scored by India and New Zealand could be 400-plus or below 400.
An interesting bet is on who will take more than three wickets from both sides -- whether it would be spinners or pace bowlers. Also, will it be India's Jaspirt Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal or New Zealand's Trent Boult or Lockie Ferguson?
The base betting rate of Indian players, for example, in case of Bumrah, it is Rs 20, while for Boult, it is Rs 7, said a source.
The other bets are on star batsmen -- Indian skipper Virat Kohli, his deputy Rohit Sharma, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill -- whether they would score half-century or century.
Gurugram Police PRO, Subhash Bokan said: "We are already keeping tight vigil to crack the betting racket on the ongoing World Cup. We have arrested over a dozen of gamblers in the city in the last few weeks. A circular was issued to guest houses and hotel owners to avoid bidding in their premises,"
The satta bazaar operators are closely monitoring the tweets of the players, captains and coaches to know the status of the players who will be in or out. They are also keeping a tab on weather reports and newspaper clippings.
Police sources said that this time, punters have sent some of their middlemen to the UK to keep tabs on all updates, the weather included.