If Virat Kohli's job was to tick boxes, then no doubt he would do it spectacularly and beautifully. All iron wrists and a gorgeous honey-falling-from-a-spoon finish. He is the best batsman to watch across all formats bar none.
Sure, AB De Villiers and Joe Root have their moments. But aesthetically, Kohli's catwalk grace at the crease beats an occasional agricultural AB and crabby Root. Kohli is also the best batsman to bet across all formats bar none.
And those boxes he is ticking relate to India's top runscorer market. When not being too obsessed with the numbers and the odds (naughty, naughty), we like to ensure that any chap we follow on such a market fits certain criteria.
They are recent form, form against the opposition and ground form. So Kohli is in good shape here. He had a nice little red inker in the first T20 and he had preceded that with two centuries in the ODI series, plus top series runscorer honours. As an extra, Kohli averages just shy of 60 against the Kiwis in T20.
And he should feel right at home at Rajkot. He has a fifty there in two ODI appearances. And on his last visit in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, he got another. Delve further back into the archives, though, and you'll note that in 2016 he made 100 not out for RCB off 63 balls.
So we really should be confident that we're on to a good thing here. Throw in those all important numbers - he top scores 43 per cent of the time in T20 - and we are bullish indeed. Prices of 11/4 on the Betfair Sportsbook and 3.55/2 on the Exchange are both fine by us.
V Kohli top India runscorer 11/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)
Kiwis still stronger
Rajkot is a venue which has quite a lot of the unknown about it as an international venue. One Test match, two ODI and one T20. On the face of it, it's a punter's nightmare. It is a necessity to have a bulk of scorecards to pore over.
Help is at hand, though. The Saurashtra Stadium is an IPL favourite and in the last two tournaments ten games have been hosted there. It gives us something to work with when trying to decipher whether it is a good batting wicket or not.
The numbers that come back say that it is. This is also backed by current on-ground reports which suggest a grassless, hard surface. Bowlers should be wary.
The fours and sixes markets then are of immediate interest. Sportsbook go over 30.5 fours at 8/11. This suggests the oddsmakers know that it's a good wicket, too. In those ten IPL matches the numbers of fours struck per game read: 29/33/29/35/38/30/26/33/25/27.
Going over 30.5 for those contests would have given you a winner five times. So an even money shot would be a fairer mark. The average, by the way, is bang on 30.5 so it's hardly a rick.
As for the sixes the last ten totals read: 9/11/25/13/14/6/3/9/1/12. Sportsbook go over 13.5 at 10/11. That would have been a winner only four times. The average is 10.3 per match.
We think the best sixes bet is still the 7/5 New Zealand that they beat 5/6 India in a match bet. As we said before game one, there is no evidence India should be jollies on past records. And even though we had a loser the numbers overwhelmingly suggest it's value.
Read Ed's full match preview here