Indian Premier League Betting: Sunrisers could dazzle Mumbai at the last

David Warner
Warner is resurgent

Ed Hawkins looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the finalists with the regular season winners under threat...

"Either of the prices for Sunrisers to make the final or win the title look to be the best bets at this stage"

Mumbai Indians

To win 2.285/4
To reach final 1.211/5

Batting runs per over For: 9
Bowling runs per over Against: 7.9
Key stat Mumbai have failed to take a wicket in the powerplay only three times

There is no doubt that Mumbai Indians are the best team in the tournament. From Nos 1 to 11 every player has contributed. They are the best-balanced team, they have the most adept bowling group and their batsmen are the most effective. Never mind the quality, feel the width - look at that chasm between run rate with the bat and ball. No other team is even in the black.

But superiority over a 14-game regular season means very little in T20 franchise tournaments, particularly with a toss bias now in the favour of the chaser.

At the start of a tournament we often advise to ignore the outright market until the play-off stage because the best team in the league almost always has a bad day at the office when it counts. At least Mumbai, who have three titles, can claim to be able to handle the pressure. They will decide to block out this killer stat: the regular season winner of the IPL has gone on to lift the trophy only three times.

Alas, Mumbai ended their league campaign with the chief hallmark of a dominant team about to blow up. They committed the cardinal sin of resting key players. Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Trent Boult were left out as they were thrashed by Sunrisers Hyderabad by ten wickets.

Playing fast and loose with momentum and confidence is a dangerous game indeed. No doubt they will be at their strongest for the qualifier against Delhi Capitals. But a defeat there and they are suddenly feeling the pinch.

Delhi Capitals

To win 3.259/4
To reach final 1.402/5

Batting runs per over For: 8.2
Bowling runs per over Against: 8.3
Key stat At an average off 11.25 runs per over, no franchise has more costly Indian seamers in the powerplay

Delhi Capitals won their final group match to prevent one of the IPL's more spectacular end-of-season implosions. Previous to beating Royal Challengers Bangalore they had lost four in a row. Panic had well and truly set in.

So much so that coach Ricky Ponting began tinkering with the XI. It's not a great sign at this time of the season for a coach not to know his best team or still be searching for it.

A big issue has been the third bowler slot. Against Bangalore Daniel Sams came in - with Shimron Hetmyer excluded after playing ten matches - but promptly went for ten an over. Hasrhal Patel, Marcus Stoinis and Tushar Deshpande have all been tried in the role only to prove expensive.

The weakness comes from injuries to Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma. The best possible replacement is Sandeep Lamichhane, the Nepal spinner, but Ponting has something against one of the world's best operators. Bonkers.

A further issue is a ponderous top order. Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane have a tendency to get bogged down.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

To win 7.6013/2
To reach final 3.55

Batting runs per over For: 8.2
Bowling runs per over Against: 8.1
Key stat Rashid Khan has the lowest ever economy rate for a bowler who has taken more than ten wickets in a season at 5.2

Forget what Sunrisers did early on in the tournament when they were a basket case, unable to get basic tactical decisions right or even the correct players on the field. They are a side transformed after they took the big call to drop Jonny Bairstow, add ballast to their middle order and start showing some gumption.

One wonders what took them so long. They are the form team having won four of their last five, including wins over the top three at the time. They surged to third position and alongside Mumbai are the only teams to finish with a positive net run rate.

Bairstow's axing has been crucial. Oddly, it has freed David Warner who has re-discovered his hitting ability. Alongside Wriddi Saha - a revelation in the opening slot - Warner has ben striking at 163 compared to 127 in the previous 11. Perhaps Warner feels more fluent knowing that Holder can now come in lower down and give it a tonk.

Sunrisers are Mumbai's greatest threat now. And it's not just down to Rashid Khan. Sandeep Sharma is lethal in the first powerplay, pinning teams back from ball one. Holder completes a fantastic bowling line-up - of bowlers who have more bowled more than 20 overs, he boasts a better strike rate (12) than Rabada, Bumrah and Boult. Either of the prices above look to be the best bets at this stage.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

To win 8.207/1
To reach final4.03/1

Batting runs per over For: 7.8
Bowling runs per Against: 8
Key stat RCB hit fewer boundaries in overs 7-15 than any other franchise

The bad news for Bangalore fans is that only once has a team finished fourth and gone on to win the IPL. Worse news is that team no longer exists - Deccan Chargers.

Still, Bangalore have done well to get to this stage and there is a feeling that with big-game players of the calibre of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Yuz Chahal and Chris Morris in form, they are suited to the knockouts. Let's face it, no team would be confident defending numbers in the high teens at the death with De Villiers around. That's some hold to have.

It is not an unlikely scenario. RCB's massive problem is their ponderous play in the gut of an innings. They are just too slow. What it means is that Kohli and De Villiers are each batting a place too low. Kohli should open and De Villiers should bat at No 3. The balance could be so much better if they dropped the disappointing Josh Philippe for middle-order power in Moeen Ali.

But it seems too late to be making such drastic changes, particularly as they have been upset by an injury to Nav Saini. We still rate them in better shape than Delhi Capitals, however.

Ed Hawkins IPL P-L


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