Indian Premier League Betting Diary: Tried and trusted Bangalore

AB De Villiers
De Villeirs was careless

Ed Hawkins keeps you up to date with the trends, stats and form in the tournament in the UAE...

"This was status quo. RCB bowlers unable to hit line and length, the ball rocketing towards the boundary"

What punters like is status quo. They don't like change, disruption or anything out of the ordinary. So they could have been forgiven (unless they were on, of course) to feeling a little agitated about Royal Challengers Bangalore taking down Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opener.

What was this? RCB defending a score? RCB roaring back from the brink of defeat? The ten-run success seemed, on the face of it, that pre-season optimism for a bright new era for the Challengers was justified. But the devil was in the detail.

For a start, let's not forget that Sunrisers were, effectively, reduced to ten men. The injury to Mitchell Marsh in the first-innings meant that Vijay Shankar had to finish his over. Those two balls cost Sunrisers 10 runs, the margin of defeat. With Marsh crocked, they were also denied two standing legs in the thrash at the end.

It is possible, if we're being harsh and that seems perfectly reasonable considering the natural talent RCB posses, that they beat a ten-man team by only ten runs.

So it shouldn't have been a huge surprise that the RCB that we know and love turned up against Kings XI on Thursday. KL Rahul made a superb hundred, of course, but the manner with which he dispatched the RCB bowlers at the death was most pleasing. This was status quo. RCB bowlers unable to hit line and length, the ball rocketing towards the boundary.

And, as usual, their batting crumbled under a weight of expectation. Virat Kohli has been criticised for not training during lockdown, AB De Villiers was careless and there was a once again an overwhelming feeling of imbalance about their XI.

virat kohli celebrates 1280x720.jpg

Despite a win and a loss, the idea that Bangalore are a brainless outfit who make poor selection and tactical decisions once again holds water. The choice of Josh Philippe underlines this. Philippe is a fantastic opening batsman. In time he could prove to be Australia's Jos Buttler. So where do RCB bat him? In the middle order in the highly-specialised finisher role. Not Moeen Ali, who plays for his country in that slot and also offers an extra bowling option.

The reason? Probably because De Villiers doesn't fancy the gloves. In time, RCB will realise that AB has to keep wicket or Partiv Patel must return at the top of the order. That gives them room to bring in Moeen at No 6 between Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar.

More work is required. Sundar needs to be trusted more with the ball by Kohli, who has bowled him less than any other captain. Then swing the axe for Umesh Yadav and Dale Steyn who are never-will-bes and has-beens respectively. Umesh is far too wayward to be trusted consistently. His seven overs so far in the tournament have cost 83 runs. Steyn, at 37, is just not the force of old, although we note that it is arguable as to whether he was ever a force in this competition.

In their place could come a slow left-armer in the form of Pawan Negi or Shabhaz Ahmed and Chris Morris. Negi and Morris would simultaneously add batting depth and provide bowling options which could fit the conditions perfectly, so long as Morris recognises the need for variation. That blueprint could revitalise RCB. But we suspect they'll think of it too late in the day. We jot down the truly awful 10/111.88 about RCB finishing in the top four.

Doh-ni

It is entirely possible that by the time you read this, MS Dhoni, as is his wont, could have rolled back the years and produced a masterclass in the art of pacing a chase. Or he could have continued to use the clash against Delhi Capitals as a glorified form of net practice.

Dhoni's hold on the game is so complete that few dared to criticise his, frankly, bonkers innings in defeat by Rajasthan

When Dhoni arrived at the crease Chennai's required rate was 16.26 (103 needed off 38). He then scored nine off 12 in the style of man needing 38 off 103. With the game over and 38 off the last six required, Dhoni suddenly wakes up and hits three sixes.

Ind MS Dhoni 1280.jpg

The result? Dhoni is hailed as a genius. Not only is he playing himself in for the tournament, he has also recognised the importance of net run rate. 'No-one ever thought like this before' the fanboys wibble. Yeah, and do you know why? Because if you actually try to chase targets you don't need to worry about net run rate. This is not a thing. Never has been. Never will be.

Joy at the death

One golden trading strategy paying off in the IPL is to expect late runs in the first innings. With batsmen set and bowlers under the pressure at the death, run rates have soared.

This tip was shared in the last episode of Cricket...Only Bettor (see below). With huge numbers available in-play on the overs innings runs markets, only a handful of winners are required.

Kings XI took 49 off the last two overs against RCB when they made 206. More than 190 had been available at 7/18.0. When Jofra Archer found his range against Chennai, smashing 27 off 8 propelled the Royals to 216. From the second ball of the 18th over - when Steve Smith was out - they had 178. Numbers in the teens copped for more than 200.

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