We’re reaching the end of the Group Stages and it’s still all to play for as far as most sides are concerned. CSK is out and KKR all but out, while Mumbai is definitely in the playoffs but for just about everyone else, these games really matter. Let’s try to find the best bets for them.
And keep on reading till the end because there’s a bonus tip on who can win the IPL. By the way, it’s not Mumbai.
Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Interested in In-form Ishan
DC was flying but then went on a run of three straight defeats, which has put them in a sticky position.
A couple of weeks ago, they were nailed on for a top-two finish but right now, that’s far from certain. Interestingly, their last two games are against the top two in the table – Mumbai here and then RCB.
It’s not ideal because they’re the two toughest sides in the tournament but then again, if Delhi brings its A game to the table and beats one or both of them, they’ll be taking points off a direct rival, in addition to the points they’d bank themselves.
Then again, DC isn’t playing particularly well at the moment and is up against a Mumbai side that just seems to find ways to win matches. Last time out, Suryakumar Yadav was the one who delivered the goods with an excellent knock of 79.
So, Mumbai is the justified favorite here but there may be a better bet than that.
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, one of the bright young things of Indian cricket, has been opening. He’s now done so on three occasions.
He top-scored for Mumbai with 68 the first time and in the next two games scored 37 and 25. Not enough to win Mumbai top bat but a sign that this is a man in form. He got out at just the wrong time on both those occasions because he was in serious contention to be top bat, but things could be different this time round.
Now that Mumbai is guaranteed a playoff place, it would be silly to risk Sharma when they don’t need to, so Ishan is likely to carry on opening. He’s an excellent price to make it two from four.
Recommended Bet: Ishan Kishan to be Mumbai Top Batsman at +200
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Hyderabad Sunrisers
Just go with Josh
There’s no disgrace in losing to Mumbai but RCB missed out on a great opportunity to at least make them work harder for their win when they played on Wednesday. They started really well but just fell part in the middle overs and ended up not accelerating in the death overs. In the end they posted a decent score, but it was about 15 runs short of what it could have been.
One man who was looking great was Josh Philippe. The Aussie wicket-keeper batsman played at the start of the tournament, then got dropped and has now been recalled in place of the out-of-form Aaron Finch. He was playing really well when he was a little unlucky to be stumped by Mumbai keeper Quinton de Kock, because he looked in good touch.
He’ll have another chance here because he’ll surely retain his place. Just about every game, one of RCB’s top four has been top batsman because they really don’t have much in that middle order. Apart from anything else, batting at the top is easier now that the wickets are getting tougher, so openers hold all the trumps.
He’s a good price for a player of his ability who opens and could come good this time.
Recommended bet: Josh Philippe to be RCB Top Batsman at +200
IPL Winner Market – Who’s your money on?
If the question is who’s the most likely winner of the tournament, the answer is Mumbai. They’re top, they have the best players, they’re defending champions and they hold just about every other trump you can think of. Although they do have a weird habit of winning the IPL every other year and since they won it last year, it would suggest they won’t win it again this year.
But if you’re not interested in favorites to bet on, go with the Kings XI. They’re on a remarkable run of six straight wins and must have the belief that they can win from any position. They’ve defended impossible totals, they’ve won matches in Super Overs, they’ve executed brilliant chases.
They play Rajasthan on Friday and they should win that. That would see them go second and if Mumbai beats Delhi as expected, they may even have some breathing space. After that, it’s DC vs RCB so points are going to be dropped among top-two contenders there as well.
A couple of weeks ago they were absolutely no-hopers, the bottom of the table. But their recovery, which has coincided with the introduction of the inimitable Chris Gayle, has given them plenty of confidence. For the last few games, they’ve even won without Mayank Agarwal, who had batted so beautifully in the first few matches, meaning that when he returns from injury, they’ll be even stronger.
It’s really not impossible that if they win their next two games against some of the weaker opponents (it’s CSK after this one) and results go their way, they could finish in the top two. Which of course would give them two shots at making the final. It would be just about the greatest turnaround in IPL history if they went on to win but right now, it’s not that far-fetched that they could do it.
Recommended bet: Kings XI to win the IPL +350
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