Ed Hawkins wonders when the run glut will stop. Probably not in Pune on Monday with batters to the fore again...
"Either batsmen are taking the game to a new level with their strike rates and power or plans and preparation for the bowling team have been thrown out of the window. We suspect it is the latter"
Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils
Monday 30 April 15:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Super Kings exposed?
Chennai Super Kings suffered only their second defeat of the campaign on Saturday, going down by eight wickets against a Mumbai Indians side desperate for a win. A loss, it could be said, has been coming a mile off.
This year's IPL is curious. Either batsmen are taking the game to a new level with their strike rates and power or plans and preparation for the bowling team have been thrown out of the window. We suspect it is the latter. In short, the bowling has been abysmal.
Chennai have been asking for a beating. They have got out of jail at the death on three occasions, relying on individual brilliance/ineptitude from the opposition against Mumbai, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. It couldn't go on. Perhaps only once against Rajasthan Royals have they played well for more than 20 overs.
The loss to Mumbai should serve as a wake-up call. Well set at 97 for one in the 12th, they didn't know how to reach when a team finally bowled with discipline against them.
Delhi search for right balance
Luckily for Chennai then, they play Delhi Daredevils who have one of the least reliable bowling attacks in the tournament. And that is saying something. Well, at least they did have.
The inclusion of Liam Plunkett could regenerate their campaign, although we are still not convinced by Trent Boult in this format or using Glenn Maxwell as a frontline bowler.
Last time out they stunned Kolkata Knight Riders. Plenty of others were looking on in disbelief. Batting first they looked like posting a competitive 180 but somehow the Knight Riders bowlers contrived to go for more than 90 in just over five overs. Unbelievable.
It is unlikely that Delhi will be handed such an opportunity on a plate again. One suspects that if Kolkata had bowled merely averagely, they would have had enough to win. Instead they had to chase 219.
Shreyas Iyer is the new skip having replaced Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir now can't get in the team, which affects balance. Franchises need their India stars performing otherwise they are severely hampered. At least Iyer stepped up with a brutal 93 against KKR.
Pitch may suit pace
The last five first-innings scores at Pune are: 169-204-73-161-157. Against Mumbai, pace was key. Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah were meanness personified and Chennai didn't have the bowlers to match them. It is possible the wicket doesn't suit CSK's attack. They had planned for a spinning surface in Chennai before the switch to Pune on safety grounds.
Take a chance on ton-up
Backing [1.69] chances in T20 is never a huge amount of fun. As we often say on these pages, a team has to be a really crack unit to be considered value at that price. Chennai certainly aren't that. There probably isn't one in the entire tournament, though.
Another problem in taking that price is that with the Chennai bowling wayward - and their fielding a little leggy - they could conceded 180-plus easily. And then very quickly you have a bad wager on your hands.
In that context it would be much smarter to wait for the toss and then hope Chennai chase around that score. We would expect them to get it. Likewise Delhi will be much bigger when - sorry, if - they go for 190.
With batters to the fore, the 9/1 that Betfair Sportsbook offer about a century being scored is worth a nibble.
Rayudu top dog
Suresh Raina, the epitome of the wise old head, hit an unbeaten 75 against Mumbai. But there was also form for Ambati Rayudu, who notched 46. He is, currently, the top runscorer in the tournament. Raina is rated at 16/5 with Betfair Sportsbook and Rayudu 10/3. Shane Watson is the 5/2 jolly.
Iyer underrated for honours
Off the back of that knock against KKR it seems surprising Iyer is rated as big as 9/2. Gambhir, for example, takes up a decent percentage of the book at 16/5. Considering he is unlikely to play that's a value case for the new captain right there. Maxwell is the 3/1 favourite. Jason Roy, struggling with a niggle and out of the XI, is 7/2.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l