We’ve reached the critical stage in the groups and with six teams still in contention for four IPL playoff places, this could be the tightest run ever. As we head into Week 5, we can effectively rule out the chances of Rajasthan and Bangalore making a comeback so that leaves those six franchises still in contention.
The next seven days are likely to see our first set of qualifications and eliminations so let’s get straight on and see what’s in store.
The Delhi Capitals were hoping that a change of name would revive their fortunes at the head of IPL 12. Instead of battling for the wooden spoon, the team is very much in line for a rare top-four finish but that’s more due to an improved batting order than ditching the old Daredevils tag.
On Thursday, Delhi is at home to the Mumbai Indians and there’s every reason to get behind an upset here. Mumbai is the hot favorite at -137 but the Capitals are ahead of their opponents on net run rate. Much may depend on Shikhar Dhawan but those batters can deliver a Delhi profit at +110.
We could be bidding goodbye to the Royal Challengers after Friday. It’s been another dismal showing for RCB, whose only legitimate target now is to haul themselves off the bottom of the table.
On Friday, Virat Kohli’s men travel to Eden Gardens where a KKR side will be desperate to put a slump in form behind them. We’ve another clear-cut market here with the Knight Riders favorites at -149 followed by RCB at +120. Only a Kohli master class can save the Royal Challengers but this is one game where we’re not looking to get behind the outsiders.
Weekend fixtures will start to slow down from this point but for Week 5 at least, we have another four games lined up across the two days. It all starts with the Rajasthan Royals at home to the Mumbai Indians and with Mumbai due to play on Thursday, we don’t have live odds at the time of writing.
The Royals will, however, certainly start as favorites after picking up just two wins from their Sportsbook eight games. They have a talented squad but inflexibility over team selection and some weak captaincy has hampered their chances and we expect the Mumbai Indians to take full advantage.
Like Mumbai, the Delhi Capitals also have a quick turnaround as they host Kings XI Punjab in Saturday’s second game. That tight schedule could be a factor as KXIP will have enjoyed a four-day break but again, this comes down to the batters.
Kings doesn’t quite have the same depth as the Capitals but if KL Rahul and Chris Gayle can continue their good run at the top of the order, the visiting side could edge a tight contest.
On we go to Sunday and a vital clash between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. The two franchises are just outside of the playoffs at the time of writing, so the points are crucial. We wouldn’t be surprised to see matching win odds of -111 on both teams but with Hyderabad’s key batsmen finding form against CSK, we’re backing SRH to sneak it.
The weekend comes to a close with Royal Challengers Bangalore up against the Chennai Super Kings. It’s likely to be bottom hosting top so we won’t have a close market for this match and with RCB in such a slump, it’s impossible to see past the Super Kings.
Au Revoir Rajasthan?
The Rajasthan Royals could be the second team saying goodbye to IPL 12 if they lose at home to the Delhi Capitals on Monday. Both teams have a busy schedule prior to this game so do check on immediate form before committing.
Delhi should start this one as the clear favorite but Rajasthan may have hope of an upset. Check the team sheets but this is set to be the last game of 2019 for Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Both will have points to prove and could be set to leave for the World Cup on a high.
On Tuesday, the Chennai Super Kings will be hosting Sunrisers Hyderabad. The pitch in Chennai has been so troublesome so we suggest waiting for the toss and looking toward the chasing side. If pushed for a prediction right now, CSK’s record of four wins from four suggests a punt on MS Dhoni’s men.
We close out the week with the beleaguered Royal Challengers Bangalore at home to Kings XI Punjab. RCB and their fans probably can’t wait for this tournament to come to a close but they have a chance here. Kings XI Punjab tend to fall away badly at the end of the IPL and if Virat Kohli plays and is firing, Bangalore can claim a largely worthless two points.