What Should Mexico Do?

If Mexico and Uruguay draw their last league game, then both of them go through to the second round irrespective of what France and South Africa do. However, on account of a better goal difference, Uruguay will qualify as group winners and face the second-placed team from Group B, while Mexico will qualify second and meet the Group B winners, likely to be Argentina.

Uruguay’s option is clear. Play for a draw. If Mexico go for a win, Uruguay should just sit back and try hit back on the counterattack (and in terms of players and style, they are very well equipped for that). Simple case of getting men behind the ball and putting gaaji.

Mexico’s strategy is not so straightforward. The “greedy” thing to do would be to play for a draw, in which case they will most likely end up facing Argentina in the second round (if you remember, Mexico went out last World Cup by losing to Argentina at the same stage). On the other hand, if Mexico beat Uruguay, they will top Group A and meet a potentially inferior team (Korea or Greece) in the second round.

As mentioned earlier, if Mexico go for a win, Uruguay will simply defend and play a counterattacking game which they are good at, so I don’t know if they are going to go for it.

Thinking about it, it comes down to Mexico’s payoff function. I’m sure their payoff is an increasing function of how far they progress in the tournament. However, we should be able to identify one particular “jump” in payoff – some kind of a discontinuity, where the payoff increases considerably for one additional round of progress in the tournament.

If this “jump” is for the second round, Mexico can afford to put Ranatunga Principle, get a peaceful draw against Uruguay and claim their “jump reward”.

If the “jump” is for the quarter-finals, however, then Mexico will want to take the risk at this round in order to get themselves easier opponents in the round of 16 (I’m assuming here that Mexico consider Korea or Greece as much easier opponents than Argentina).

If the “jump” occurs further down in the tournament, I think there is way too much randomness about their potential quarterfinal opponents (especially given the fuzzy results in Groups C and D) and opponents as hard as  (or harder than ) Argentina cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, they would rather face one tough opponent than two (and I’m assuming here that no team is significantly “harder” for Mexico than Argentina) and so they should put fight to avoid Argentina and thus go for a win.

Considering that they have reached the Round of 16 with reasonable regularity in the last few World Cups, I presume that their “payoff jump” will occur later in the tournament. And based on the above reasoning that means they should go for a win against Uruguay, so that they can try avoid Argentina.

And it is on this thin thread that the French are hanging their hopes (though first they need to thulp South Africa, no easy task).

The Switch

Cafe Coffee Day is among the most unromantic places to go on a first date, or so they say. But then you need to understand that the venue can do only so much when it comes to creating the right “atmosphere” for the date. So if you think you are yourselves capable enough of doing a good job of creating a good “atmosphere”, you don’t need to bother about trivialties such as how “romantic” a place is or how good it is in creating “atmosphere” and just pick a place that makes practical sense.

There has been so much of One Day International cricket of late that it is difficult to keep track of various series and tournaments. One tournament that similarly got lost, mostly because the ultimate result was unremarkable (Australia won yet again) was the Champions Trophy, which happened (I think) in South Africa. I don’t remember much of the tournament; I don’t think I watched much of it. All I remember was that there was a game where India played Australia, and that Australia batted first.

Seating arrangement plays an important factor on a first date. Optimal seating arrangement ensures the optimal arrangement of eye contact. Sitting beside each other means you need to put too much effort to establish eye contact, and that is way too much energy. Sitting opposite each other can lead to overexposure – if things aren’t going that well, it’s tough to keep looking into each other’s eyes and that can lead ot awkward moments. It might be interesting to do some academic research in this matter but my hunch is that for a first date a ninety-degree seating arrangement is optimal.

For a few months now I have been on a diet. It has not been without results – my weight has come down by almost a fourth in the last six months. I haven’t done anything drastic, just a set of simple principles. And one of them is “no sugar in coffee”. I’ve given up on tea altogether since I can’t have it without sugar. When you are on a date, however, it is not nice to show off that you are on a diet, especially if you are a guy. it doesn’t give a good picture. So a good strategy is to order something like espresso, which you can claim tastes best without sugar!

I think it was an appeal for LBW that triggered it, but I’m not sure. I do remember, however, that it was a strong appeal that was turned down, but I don’t remember the nature of dismissal. Ashish Nehra was bowling if I’m not wrong. I have no clue who was batting. Maybe it was Haddin, or was it Paine who was opening in that tournament? Not that it matters.

Onlookers might have thought that the move was choreographed given how well we executed it. I don’t even remember their being too much eye contact as it happened. I don’t remember there being any conversation about it as it happened. All I remember is that one moment I was being distracted by Ashish Nehra’s appeal, and the next I was sitting with my back to the TV, comfortably settled where she had been settled a moment earlier, with her having taken my original place.

And I remember that our coffees had also exchanged places along with us!