Indian Premier League Tips: Kohli and Bumrah the men to beat

Virat Kohli
Kohli will open for RCB

Ed Hawkins does a deep data dive to reveal the best bets for the top batsman and bowler markets in IPL 2021...

"Kohli will open for Bangalore and the RPI mark is in range. He finished top in 2016 with the highest RPI for a No 1 ever at 60.8"

(1pt) Back Virat Kohli top tournament runscorer 8.6015/2

How to find a top-bat winner

The top runscorer often looks like a confusing array of haves, have nots, maybes, ifs and buts. It is in fact pretty simple: back an opening batsman for a team you expect to make it out of the group stages.

Only twice in IPL history has a top runscorer not batted at No 1 and 2. Only twice has the winner not made it to the denouement. Those facts separate the wheat from the chaff. A third filter? Oh go on, then. The average runs per innings required to win the thing is 45.1.

Never has it been won by a player averaging fewer than 40.1 runs per innings.

Below are the probable openers for each team and their RPI in that position.

As you can see the likes of Rohit Sharma (not much fun at Sportsbook's 9/1) has a mountain to climb to make it to the magic number, even though he should go deep with Mumbai.

We would dearly love the Indians to open with Ishan Kishan as he would be a fantastic wager at 16s. Instead we're played safe and betted him for top Mumbai - as discussed in our team-by-team guide.

Shikhar Dhawan is another who is a better wager to top score for his team. He's not far off the magical 40 mark but, forever the bridesmaid, 10/1 is too skinny. Likewise Jos Buttler at the same price, largely because the Rajasthan Royals have a struggle to get into that top four.

It is very hard to look past last year's winner, KL Rahul, at 9/1 and he featured as a Best Bet on Cricket...Only Bettor (see below). His RPI is fabulous and his form sensational. Five games on the road that is Bangalore for Punjab should help. We have had back-to-back winners before (Chris Gayle in 2012 and 2011).

Virat Kohli is also worth a wager. He will open for Bangalore and the RPI mark is in range. He finished top in 2016 with the highest RPI for a No 1 ever at 60.8. He is available at 8.6015/2 on the exchange.

Finally, an 'if'. If David Warner is fit for Sunrisers he should go well for your money.

Opening batsmen per team/runs per innings as opener
MI Rohit 26.3/De Kock 30.8/Kishan 40.4
DC Shaw 21.7/Dhawan 33.3
SRH Warner 44.1/Bairstow 37.6
RCB Kohli 33/Paddikal 31.5
KKR Gill 33.8/Rana 47.2 (5inns)
CSK Gaikwad 49.7 (4)/Du Plessis 29.7
PK KL Rahul 45.7/Agarwal 34.3
RR Stokes 32.8/Buttler 43.1

Top runscorers by year (RPI)
Rahul 47.8
Warner 57.6
Williamson 43.2
Warner 45.7
Kohli 60.8
Warner 40.1
Uthappa 41.2
M Hussey 43.1
Gayle 52.3
Gayle 50.6
Tendulkar 41.2
Hayden 48.5
S Marsh 56

Bum rush

Boxes need to be ticked for the top tournament bowler, too. Just like the batters, certain characteristics are required to finish top of the pile.

First of all, you need a pacer. Only once has a spinner won in the last five years (Imran Tahir in 2018). Only two other spinners have made the top three in that period (Rashid Khan the previous year and Yuz Chahal in 2016).

All the other 12 pace bowlers have one thing in common: they bowl at the death.

We are confident that the following will bowl at the death...

MI Bumrah
SRH Natarajan/Kaul
PK Richardson/Shami
CSK Ngidi/Thakur
KKR Krishna
RR Morris
DC Rabada
RCB Saini

Another common denominator? Only once in last five years in top three finishers (15 players) has a bowler not been involved in play-offs. The average strike rate required for a top-three finish is a wicket every 15 balls.

Last two years (all T20s) top 10 strike rates
Ngidi (CSK) 11.5
Kaul (SRH) 13.6
Rabada (DC) 14.7
Siraj (RCB) 15.4
Sams (RCB) 15.6
Richardson (RCB) 16.3
Bumrah (MI) 16.3
Thakus (CSK) 16.7
Boult (MI) 17.3
Shami (DC) 17.3

Lungi Ngidi, then, looks the standout wager at 36.035/1 on the exchange. He fits the criteria perfectly apart from one massive problem. We cannot be confident Chennai will pick him consistently. Likewise for the outstanding Sidd Kaul for Sunrisres. We've taken a risk on the massive 10/1 that Ngidi takes most Chennai wickets instead.

In a contest where one wicket is enough for the win, every game counts. That's why we swerve the exceptional Kagiso Rabada at 8/1. He is expected to miss Delhi's first game (like Ngidi) due to quarantine. Mohammad Shami has good chance, too, on the criteria but we're not wowed by the 10s.

Jasprit Bumrah, then, stands as a fine wager at 8/1. He is within range of the required strike rate, should make the play-offs with Mumbai and is expert at the death.

And one to come from the pack? Sunrisers' Natarajan at 25.024/1 on the exchange. He ticks all boxes apart from strike rate but his breakthrough into internationals ( a wicket every 13.7 balls) suggests a big season is in the offing.


IPL Preview Part 1 on Cricket...Only Bettor

Indian Premier League: Indian Premier League (Top Run Scorer)

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Friday 9 April, 3.00pm

Market rules

Back Lay
Shikhar Dhawan
Francois du Plessis
Prithvi Shaw
Jonny Bairstow
Rohit Sharma
Mayank Agarwal
Jos Buttler
Virat Kohli
KL Rahul
Glenn Maxwell
Sanju Samson
AB de Villiers
Quinton de Kock
Devdutt Padikkal
Ruturaj Gaikwad
Rishabh Pant
Nitish Rana
Chris Gayle
Moeen Ali
Suryakumar Yadav
David Warner
Andre Russell
Chris Lynn
Suresh Raina
Kane Williamson
Rahul Tewatia
Steve Smith
Liam Livingstone
Kieron Pollard
Dawid Malan
Ambati Rayudu
Moises Henriques
Shimron Hetmyer
Manish Pandey
Marcus Stoinis
Eoin Morgan
Shubman Gill
Hardik Pandya
Dinesh Karthik
Ishan Kishan
Hari Nishanth
Ajinkya Rahane
Finn Allen
David Miller
Nicholas Pooran
Mahendra Dhoni
Ben Stokes
Wriddhiman Saha
Cheteshwar Pujara
Shakib Al Hasan
Karun Nair
Shivam Dube
Priyam Garg
Robin Uthappa

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Indian Premier League: Indian Premier League (Top Wicket Taker)

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Friday 9 April, 3.00pm

Market rules

Back Lay
Jasprit Bumrah
Yuzvendra Chahal
Rashid Khan
Thangarasu Natarajan
Pat Cummins
Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Adam Zampa
Rahul Chahar
Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Jhye Richardson
Ravi Bishnoi
Rahul Tewatia
Khaleel Ahmed
Ravindra Jadeja
Sandeep Sharma
Imran Tahir
Shreyas Gopal
Lockie Ferguson
Shakib Al Hasan
Prasidh Krishna
Adam Milne
Tom Curran
Shardul Thakur
Kartik Tyagi
Andre Russell
Riley Meredith
Daniel Sams
Jason Holder
Kane Richardson
Jaydev Unadkat
Axar Patel
Murugan Ashwin
Washington Sundar
Glenn Maxwell
Hardik Pandya
Krunal Pandya
Nathan Coulter-Nile
Andrew Tye
Chris Morris
Shivam Mavi
Ishant Sharma
Josh Hazlewood
Navdeep Saini
Fabian Allen
Kagiso Rabada
Trent Boult
Deepak Chahar
Anrich Nortje
Mohammad Shami
Sunil Narine
Chris Jordan
Varun Chakravarthy
Mohammad Siraj
Dwayne Bravo
Lungi Ndidi
Sam Curran
Kyle Jamieson
Mustafizur Rahman
Kuldeep Yadav
Ravichandran Ashwin

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