The Lucknow Super Giants have proven beatable over the last week or so, with two losses in their last three games, after spending a lot of the early parts of the season as one of the best teams in the league. They’re currently placed fourth, however, a much better result than was expected of them in preseason.
They are also, by some way, the favorites coming into this fixture against the Mumbai Indians, whose existential crisis stretches further and further with every game. It is now seven losses in a row for Rohit Sharma and his men, a reality they have never previously experienced in 14 years of the IPL.
At exactly the halfway stage, it looks like Mumbai’s season is already done in terms of qualification. Those who sit in and around the qualification spots now require only three or four wins at worst from their remaining fixtures to go through.
Mumbai has no such luxuries – they need to win seven out of seven to even stay in the conversation, and at the moment they do not have a team balance that is capable of turning a 100 percent loss rate into a 100 percent win rate.
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Lucknow Super Giants vs Mumbai Indians Odds
Lucknow Super Giants (-111)
Following the auctions, the Lucknow Super Giants had appeared like a team that would struggle if two of their top three couldn’t get going. That has held true, more or less, over the seven matches they’ve played. They’ve lost two of their last three games, and both those games involved one opener and the No. 3 not getting among the runs.
On the contrary, the last match they won – against the Mumbai Indians, incidentally – involved an unbeaten century from opener and captain KL Rahul, a useful 38 from No. 3 Manish Pandey, and a 72-run partnership between them that set the base for a big finish.
That part of their team is the only Achilles’ heel heading into this game that we can spot. Even though Mumbai Indians’ bowling isn’t currently firing on all cylinders, there are names in there that are capable of strong performances on their day.
Mumbai Indians (-111)
We think Mumbai Indians’ odds of winning this game being on par with those of Lucknow is a bit of an aberration. These teams aren’t, by any means, on equal footing at the moment.
There are a whole host of problems that the Mumbai Indians are being forced to confront at the moment, and that they’re trying to address proactively. All of that, however, seems to fall short when it comes down to their bowling effort, particularly when defending a total.
The bulk of Mumbai’s history of being the most successful side in the tournament was built on the fact that they had five solid bowling options at all times. This was especially true over the last five years or so, coinciding with the time Rohit Sharma emerged with a reputation for having a good eye for analytics.
That stemmed from knowing which batsman could be stifled with which bowler in his ranks, bringing that bowler on immediately, and then having that bowler deliver exactly what was required.
That dimension of Mumbai’s game has gone missing with a fully revamped bowling lineup. Neither is the quality as good as it used to be, nor the bowlers able to hold down their places and create any kind of cohesion – which was another big factor in Mumbai’s success, a team that would generally make tweaks only when the main XI had injury troubles.
A lot seems wrong at the moment, and we won’t be surprised if the rest of the season is spent on testing their bench strength out to its full extent.
Lucknow vs Mumbai Pick
Lucknow Super Giants To Win (-111)
We think Mumbai has too much to worry about and change, and – after a crushing last-ball defeat against the Chennai Super Kings on Thursday evening – not enough time to work on things by Sunday.
Lucknow vs Mumbai Best Bet
Suryakumar Yadav To Be Mumbai’s Top Batsman (+260)
The only player who has seemed reliable for a performance at all times this season for Mumbai has been Suryakumar Yadav. He has 30-plus scores in each of his five innings this season, has turned two of those into fifties, and will be a key batsman against Lucknow’s spinners in the middle overs.
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