Royal Challengers Bangalore v Hyderabad Sunrisers
Saturday May 4, 15:30
Live on BT Sport 3
Bangalore playing for pride
The Royal Challengers Bangalore are out of this season's IPL after a rain-ruined match against Rajasthan ended in a no result. In the end they couldn't even complete a 5-over-a-side slog and though Virat Kohli would rather the match had been played out to a result, it's a game they were underdogs to win anyway when it was finally called off.
I said last time out that it might be time for a change with the Bangalore captaincy so I won't go through all that again.
It obviously didn't help that Moeen Ali, who provided that all-important balance is no longer with the side after reporting for England duty but that would hardly have made a difference in the grand scheme of things.
Sunrisers feeling the loss of their departed stars
The Sunrisers lost a great chance to secure an unlikely win when they lost a Super Over to Mumbai on Thursday.
Unlikely because they need a hit six off the last ball just to get that far. It came off the bat of Manish Pandey who almost pulled off a remarkable heist alongside Mohammad Nabi, a partnership that kept them in the game but wasn't quite enough. When they batted first in the Super Over, Pandey was needlessly run out first ball going for a second run that wasn't there and despite hitting a six, Nabi soon followed, cleaned bowled. Mumbai chased the runs with ease.
If they were over-reliant on David Warner and Jonny Bairstow when they were there, they look pretty lost without them.
Still, a win here would allow them to qualify in fourth.
If we had a significant difference in prices here, I would have been tempted to side with the outsider. If the outsider was the Sunrisers, you could make a case for the on the basis they have a lot more wins and have something to play for. If it was Bangalore who were odds-against, you could say that they do still have the talent on any given day with the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis and Yuzvendra Chahal to beat anyone on their day.
But the odds-compilers have been disappointingly wishy-washy here in making it pretty much evens the pair. So, we'll leave this market alone.
I'm extremely surprised you can back Manish Pandey at 5.04/1 to be the Sunrisers' top batsman. He ticks just about every box. He's by far the team's top scorer (with the exception of Warner and Bairstow who are no longer there) with 305 when no-one else has even passed 200, he bats high up at number three and is fresh from that excellent knock we've already mentioned.
There's always the chance that Kane Williamson's (4.5) go-slow approach comes off and he plays a long innings rather than an eye-catching one but we're not too fearful of Williamson's Kiwi team-mate Martin Guptill who only has one match under his belt.
Mohammad Nabi doesn't look the worst bet at 9.517/2 for someone who can score very quickly on his day and may be due a promotion up to number five; but Pandey is very much the smart bet.
With the ball, the age-old question remains when looking at playing the Sunrisers top bowler market: do you want to smash into red-hot favourite Rashid Khan or is there a value alternative? I think it's the latter.
Khan is 2.87 to be their top bowler. He has 14 wickets from 13 matches. Ok, but not great shakes from the man who is rapidly becoming the most feared bowler in limited-overs cricket. I've said before that after two or three years on the T20 circuit, batsmen are learning how to play him. It's no piece of cake facing him but it's getting a bit easier.
Look at who else has 14 wickets. KK Ahmed does and from just seven matches. So what would you rather do? Back someone with a sky-high reputation at 2.87 with an average of 22.71 for the tournament or back an under-the-radar player at 4.5 who has an average of 16.15? I think we've answered our own question.