Kings XI are drinking in last-chance saloon when they play Chennai on Sunday afternoon and much will depend on whether Andrew Tye can carry on his excellent form. Jamie Pacheco fancies him to do just that...
"Andrew Tye has 24 wickets, four more than the next best- UT Yadav. That should come as no surprise. He’s arguably the best T20 bowler in the world, even if the rankings don’t necessarily reflect that. He rarely bowls a bad ball and has batsmen tied up in knots with a combination of knuckle balls, slower bouncers, yorkers and all manner of other tricks."
Chennai Super Kings x Kings XI
Sunday May 20 15.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Good Chennai, bad Chennai
No-one will want to face Chennai in the Play-Offs. When they bat, the big names just keep coming at you. Rayudu, Watson, Raina, Dhoni, Billings...Bravo. When they bowl, they have at least seven bowlers available to MS Dhoni who are all capable of bowling their full quota of four overs. If someone is having a poor game, someone else will come in and bowl his overs.
But they're not invincible. Two areas their opponents can exploit are their fielding and their lower middle-order. This isn't exactly a team full of agile athletes so if the boundaries aren't coming, teams need to put pressure on them through quick running.
Their life has also been made easy by at least one member of the top three generally getting a score. Neither Dhoni nor Billings will fancy coming in any earlier than the eighth over so if you can take three early wickets against his lot they might just crumble. Easier said than done, though.
Both these flaws were evident when they lost to wooden spoon winners Delhi on Friday by 34 runs. And that was despite Rayudu actually getting to 50.
Will Mujeeb be fit?
A tale of two halves for the Kings XI. An excellent first half of the 'regular' season where they threatened to top the table was followed by a dismal second half where they couldn't buy a win.
If you want a full explanation of their flaws you can read about them in Ed Hawkins' insightful piece, which by the way was written before their dismal run began.
Had the brilliant KL Rahul stuck around for a couple more overs they would surely have beaten Mumbai during the week in a big chase. And had they won that, they would definitely be a win in this game away from the Play-Offs. And they might have even just snuck through even if they did lose this one.
But of course they didn't win and now even winning here might not be enough.
They'll be hoping Mujeeb Ur Rahman is fit for this one after missing the last game with a hand injury. He has 14 wickets from 11 games and the best economy rate of any Kings bowler. And that's saying something when you've got Andrew Tye in your team. The bearded Australian is the tournament's top wicket-taker by some distance, by the way.
The prices are exactly what you'd expect them to be. Chennai 4/6 favourites as the side with four more points on the board, the more balanced team and on home soil. Sort of. They're in Pune, not Chennai.
And yes, Chennai lost last time out against the bottom-placed team but that's nothing compared to Ravi Ashwin's side: they've lost all of their last four.
If you want to back Chennai at that price you don't need to be worried about their motivation levels. Chennai will be desperate to win it so that they finish Top 2 and get two chances to make the final.
Chennai should stay with Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu at the top of the order. Kings are likely to continue with Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle. Rahul is the top runscorer in the tournament (652) while Rayudu is fourth (585) so you could say those two cancel each other out, especially given they're both in great form.
But Gayle is in a bit of a rut with scores of 8, 1, 21, 18 and 18 over his last five matches. Watson has fared better with scores of 36, 11, 39, 57 and 14. If you assume that the two Indian batsmen are going to go on and get a big score again then you can wonder why Chennai are outsiders here at 11/10 for the highest opening partnership when Watson is in better nick than Gayle.
Andrew Tye has 24 wickets, four more than the next best- UT Yadav. That should come as no surprise. He's arguably the best T20 bowler in the world, even if the rankings don't necessarily reflect that. He rarely bowls a bad ball and has batsmen tied up in knots with a combination of knuckle balls, slower bouncers, yorkers and all manner of other tricks. That's why he was one of the five players to watch I highlighted before the tournament began. I also mentioned him as a good 14/1 shot for tournament top wicket-taker so if you backed him back then you're in a pretty good position right now.
Backing him to be Kings XI top wicket-taker would have paid out in three of their last four games (in the other no Kings player took a wicket).
If Mujeeb Ur Rahman is fit for this one he'll challenge him but if he's not, he really doesn't have much to beat here. Even if Rahman does play, Tye's figures are more impressive and he rates an excellent bet at 3/1.
Staked: 26 pts
Returned: 22 pts
P&L: -4 pts