The England skipper has come close and with a possible promotion and an odds boost to help the cause, he's our man for KKR ahead of this one, says Jamie Pacheco...
"The one I’m interested in is Morgan. He’s the team’s second highest runscorer, proof that he’s been playing well and perhaps just a victim of coming in a bit too low in the order. That’s the only reason why he hasn’t won this more often this year because Gill aside, there hasn’t been much to beat."
Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders
Thursday October 29, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Too little too late for CSK
Having put in a load of awful performances in a row when it really mattered, they put in arguably their best in the whole tournament when it didn't.
When they lined up against RCB at the weekend they were already virtually out of the tournament. They then proceeded to bowl excellent lines and lengths to RCB's batters, mixing it up, taking the pace off the ball and then restricted Virat Kohli's men to a below-par total.
They were just as impressive with the bat. Realising that at the top of the innings was the best time to bat, they were aggressive from the off, scoring boundaries, getting ahead of the run rate. Faf du Plessis scored an important quickfire 25 off 13, Ambati Rayudu got 39 off 27 and MS Dhoni a typical unbeaten 19 to finish off the job. Best of all was RD Gaikwad with an expertly-timed 65 off 51, just the sort of strike rate required given the total.
Where was that smart thinking with the ball up to now? Where was that intent from the openers?
It's just the latest example of the enigma that are CSK. Mitchell Santner was good in his first appearance of the season and should keep his place. Imran Tahir went wicketless forte second game in a row, perhaps vindicating the decision to have left him out till now.
KKR down but not completely out
KKR have a mountain to climb after a lackluster performance on Monday against the Kings XI. The damage was all done before the second over...was over. Three wickets fell before the start of the third and though there were valiant efforts from Shubman Gill (57) and Eoin Morgan (40) who knew they had to twist and try to score quickly rather than taking too long re-building, it was too little too late.
150 was never going to be enough at Sharjah and the Kings' XI won easily in the end, with more than an over to spare in the chase.
In truth, KKR probably don't deserve a Play-Off place. They should have played Lockie Ferguson much sooner, they changed other players in the team too much and should have given Morgan the captaincy from the start of the season. That's all in the past but a win here and they may yet go through by the skin of their teeth.
Match winner market best left alone
KKR are 1.855/6 to win this game, which is understandable given they're four points better off in the table. And whereas KKR have been your epitome of 'inconsistent', CSK have mostly been 'pretty awful'.
KKR won this fixture by 10 runs the first time they played this season but if you're thinking I'm heading towards a bet on KKR, I'm not.
KKR may be playing for something and CSK just pride, but that's not necessarily a good thing for KKR.
Under no pressure at all, CSK may just be about to play their best cricket yet by being fearless and ambitious. Which of course is what they were missing for the first eight or nine games of the season.
Shubman Gill's consistency at the top of the order has been one of KKR's few success stories this campaign. Ok, three fifties from 12 knocks isn't fantastic, nor is a strike rate of 113, but his role in the side is to get them off to some sort of start most matches. He copped last time, like he has a few other times this campaign, and it's 11/4 he manages it again.
At 9/2 you can back former skipper Karthik at 9/2. Relieved of the captaincy, he's been promoted to number four for the last few games but is yet to fire. Ntish Rana and Rahul Tripathi have both won this market this season and are 11/4 and 4/1 respectively. Sunil Narine has been good since returning to the side but 11/2 is a bit short for someone likely to come in at six. Tom Banton (4/1) is unlikely to play at all.
The one I'm interested in is Morgan. He's the team's second-highest runscorer, proof that he's been playing well and perhaps just a victim of coming in a bit too low in the order. That's the only reason why he hasn't won this more often this year because Gill aside, there hasn't been much to beat.
I have a feeling he could promote himself ahead of the out-of-form Karthik for this one for what is a must-win match. And if that isn't enough of a bonus, the fact that the Betfair Sportsbook have boosted his odds from 9/2 to 5/1, certainly is.
If 5/1 isn't your cup of tea for a top bat bet, then how about 17/1? That's the price on Ravi Jadeja top-scoring for Chennai. Something he's managed this season on two occasions already in 12 games. Sound like a 17/1 shot?
Yes, CSK batted extremely well last time out and Gaikwad was particularly good. But they didn't get themselves into this mess by having in-form batsmen consistently score runs at the top of the order, did they?
Another batting collapse could yet open the door to Jadeja, batting at five, six or seven, to come in and be their top bat. At the price, it's worth the risk.
JAMIE'S 2020 IPL P&L
Returned: 23.74 pts