The IPL returns to Mumbai with the Cricket Badger backing visitors KKR 2.02, riding the crest of a wave after demolishing Gujarat Lions on Friday.
(This article was originally written by Cricket Badger for Betfair and appeared on betting.betfair. All prices quoted are available on betfair.com.)
The Mumbai Indians suffered an opening defeat to Rising Pune Supergiant, but could take heart from a resilient performance in the field that kept them in the game deep into the final over. Had it not been for the supreme powers of Pune captain Steven Smith they would have taken the points.
That said, they look a well balanced outfit that, with all due respect to some of the modern era’s greats, is a tad past its sell by date. They are relying heavily on the batting of their skipper Rohit Sharma who has returned from injury and who will have benefitted from getting a game under his belt. Jos Buttler needs to fire with the bat and Kieron Pollard, one of my favourite T20 cricketers of the past decade, is beginning to look slightly ponderous in the field and with the ball.
Lasith Malinga is still otherwise engaged with Sri Lanka and Harbhajan Singh desperately short of match action they are seeking a new hero with the ball, however there is a shortage of contenders.
Kolkata Knight Riders
There are many superlatives that could cover KKR’s demolition of Gujarat Lions on Friday, but I’ll settle with ‘WOW’. They have room to improve in the field after allowing the Lions to post 20-or-so more than they should have, but with the bat their opening pair of Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir set a new IPL benchmark for 10-wicket wins as they romped to 184-0 and won with 31 balls to spare.
When KKR promoted Lynn to open and split their regular first pair of Gambhir and Robin Uthappa they sacrificed solidity for flare and it worked a treat. Lynn, who was the star of the last Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat, registered his first IPL 50 in some style. His unbeaten 93 coming in only 41 balls, while Gambhir hit 76 from 48. It was as comprehensive a victory as you will see in T20 cricket and they will be brim full of confidence as they arrive in Mumbai.
Skipper Gambhir was also impressive in the field. He rotated his many spinners well, Trent Boult was the pick of the seam attack, but he will need Chris Woakes to grow in to his debut IPL. The Warwickshire all-rounder took some hammer and needs to regroup.
Mumbai are priced as favourites and I can only imagine that is because they are on home soil. With KKR my one fear is that their opening extravaganza was against a Gujarat Lions side that offers nothing with the ball. KKR will have to work harder to take the points in this one, but if we’re basing this bet on what we’ve seen so far, the value play has to be KKR at 2.02.
This is a market I’m personally going to only nibble at as the Mumbai top order is unproven. Rohit Sharma (13/5) is their best batsman by some distance, but he is returning from injury and I’d not back him until he’s got some runs under his belt. We’ve all seen Jos Buttler (5/2) destroy bowlers for England, but he’s just as likely to fail, and that to me makes him a risky punt. Parthiv Patel has been in good form domestically, but I’m having a small stakes bet down the order. If Mumbai repeat their opening batting display and lose early wickets Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard (both 14/1) may get time at the crease and I’ll split my stake across those two.
The opening match has made this a very easy bet. I played Lynn (5/2) in that opening encounter and will do again. He describes his T20 technique as “see ball, hit ball”and blimey it worked. With Lynn you don’t need him to bat that long to get score that might take the spoils. Gambhir (5/2) and Uthappa (7/2) would be the alternative picks.
And don’t discount Colin de Grandhomme (7/1). The Kiwi boasts the highest strike-rate in current T20 cricket, but if KKR bat like they did in the opener he won’t get to the middle. With a good batting side I’d always prefer to take someone out of the top three.
In the four matches that Mumbai played at the Wankhede Stadium last season the scores of the team batting first were 121-8, 143-8, 170-7 and 174-5. Two factors arise from those scores. Firstly they got bigger as the tournament progressed, so worth noting, and secondly the team chasing those scores won on every occasion.
It is potentially worth backing the team batting second at the Wankhede, but on this occasion I’m confident enough in KKR to stick with that bet regardless. A par score at the Wankhede is 160. From what we’ve seen in this tournament so far I’d back overs on that mark.
This market saved my bacon in the first match of the tournament and it can never be ignored. The nature of T20 is mayham, madness and mix-ups and that lends itself to over 1.5 match run outs at 7/4.
2pts Back Kolkata Knight Riders to win the match at 2.02 (Exchange) (LOST)
2pts Over 1.5 Match Run Outs at 7/4 (Sportsbook) (LOST)
1pt Chris Lynn to be Top KKR Runscorer at 7/2 (Sportsbook) (LOST)
0.5pt Krunal Pandya to be Top Mumbai Runscorer at 14/1 (Sportsbook) (LOST)
0.5pt Kieron Pollard to be Top Mumbai Runscorer at 14/1 (Sportsbook) (LOST)
The Badger Betting in IPL2017 (end of Saturday)
Staked 20 units
Returned 27.55 units
Profit: +7.55 units
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
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