As we suggested last week, the 2019 IPL table would really start to take shape after Week 3 and that’s been the case. Right at the very bottom, Royal Challengers Bangalore are without a win and in danger of being the first team eliminated while Rajasthan Royals also need to start putting points together.
At the very top, Chennai Super Kings look certainties for a place in the playoffs while it’s tight among the five franchises below them. Week 4 will be crucial so let’s see what’s in store.
The week begins on Thursday with the table-topping Chennai Super Kings away to Rajasthan Royals. Chennai has stormed to the summit on the back of strong performances on a controversial home surface but MS Dhoni’s men may well be tested as they go on their travels.
Rajasthan Royals are a team packed with talent, both domestic and overseas, and it’s hard to fathom just why they have picked up a solitary win. CSK are favorites for this one at -151 while the Royals are on offer at +125 and it is tough to see past Chennai here.
Knight Riders Stung
The Kolkata Knight Riders are the latest team to fall foul of CSK’s difficult home pitches and the two-time IPL champions will be looking to bounce back when they host Delhi Capitals on Friday. Only two points separate these two sides but as followers of the IPL will know, Delhi has a tendency to fall away during the second half of the campaign.
The key to this contest is how well KKR responds to that recent defeat. At -149 as opposed to the Capitals’ +120, it’s clear what the sportsbooks think and with Kolkata fielding a stronger all-round unit, we’re not going to disagree on this occasion.
Weekend Cricketing Feast
Once again we have a packed weekend to look forward to with four games shared across Saturday and Sunday. It all starts with Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals and while the Royals have a game prior to this contest, we do have some odds in for this one.
Not surprisingly, Mumbai are clear favorites at -163 while the Royals have a standout price of +138. Much could depend on Rajasthan’s game with CSK on Thursday but a team with such powerful batting talent has to come through on occasion and Ajinkya Rahane’s men could well force an upset here.
The Saturday evening fixture involves Kings XI Punjab against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in what is clearly a must-win for RCB. The market is split here with -111 on Kings XI and that same price on offer for RCB.
The equation here really comes down to two batsmen on each side: KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are in explosive form for Kings while the opposite applies to Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers for RCB. If, as we suspect, Bangalore can pick up early wickets, then they will be on their way to their first win of the campaign.
Sunday offers up a clash between two giants of the game in Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings. They’ve claimed a combined total of five IPL titles but who will come through with the points at the end of 40 overs? There are no odds in for this one at the time of writing but we suspect it will be close with CSK likely to start as marginal favorites. Much could depend on the toss with the chasing side having an advantage but if pushed to name a winner, the resilience of KKR may be enough to see them home.
The weekend concludes with Sunrisers Hyderabad hosting the Delhi Capitals. We’ve mentioned that Delhi can go into a tailspin at the midway point in the competition and, if Sunrisers can rediscover their batting form, the points should be theirs.
There’s no need for Monday motivation if you’re watching the IPL as we have a cracker of a game to look forward to. Mumbai has every chance of putting the Royal Challengers out of the tournament and we think they can do just that. Morale will be low in the RCB camp and a buoyant Mumbai is the obvious pick.
On Tuesday, Kings XI Punjab host Rajasthan Royals in a tie that could be crucial in terms of keeping in touch with the playoffs. Immediate form will be the key to that one but at this early stage, we feel that Rajasthan might be building some momentum and the Royals are the best bet for the win.
We say farewell to Week 4 with another huge clash between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings. Away from home, CSK are not such a feared opponent and Hyderabad’s powerful top order is key to claiming the points.