Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab: Improved Punjab are now genuine contenders

Kings XI Punjab cricketer David Miller
David Miller's form is another positive for Kings XI

Last season, CSK were champions and Kings XI second bottom. Paul Krishnamurty says that gulf has closed this term and recommends an outright bet on the latter...

"My strong advice is to bet against the chasing side in between innings...If a respectable total - 150 plus - has been posted, history suggests it will prove highly competitive."

Back Kings XI Punjab to win IPL 2019 3u @ 9.28/1

Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab
Saturday, 11:30 GMT
Live on BT Sport and Star Gold (Sky Channel 729)

Mumbai turnaround shows CSK aren't invincible

From being heavily odds-on to make it four wins from four, CSK's fortunes were turned on their head in the last game, demonstrating a potential weakness that had not seemed obvious.

Mumbai's par total on the run line went from 145 to 170 during the death overs, with Dwayne Bravo taking a pasting at 12.5 per over. Normally his death bowling is a huge asset but showed the lack of support.

I wouldn't bank on a repeat though - perhaps on this occasion we should just give credit to the Mumbai finishers and bowlers. The defending champions remain well on course to maintain their 100% play-off appearance record.

Curran heroics demonstrate Punjab's improvement

A new IPL superstar is born! With four wickets in five balls, Sam Curran's matchwinning effort against Delhi completed an amazing turnaround and arguably the moment of the season so far.

More broadly, earlier thoughts on Punjab have been reinforced. They are joint-top of the table - no longer the perennial strugglers, stuck in a race to avoid bottom.

Previously their batsmen - led by Chris Gayle and KL Rahul - had starred. This time the bowlers showed their mettle. This squad is now stacked with quality and well balanced. Genuine title contenders at attractive 9.28/1 odds. Get on now with a view to laying back. Winning today would be huge and defeat not ruinous.

Back unders on slow pitch

A first innings total of 175 was enough to win the previous match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium and, on the evidence of both that innings and historically, represents an over-par score.

In-running, par had looked around 150 on a slow surface until MS Dhoni went berserk at the death. Six of ten IPL first innings here since 2015 were below 160.

Given the batting strength of both sides, I suspect we'll be able to lay that 160 or more band at 1.42/5 or even less. If so, that is definitely worth an interest.

Oppose the chasers at halfway

Another interesting stat is that seven of the last ten matches here were won by the team batting first. That counters the conventional wisdom of T20 and may very well provide a cracking betting angle.

In the last match, after hitting that above-par 175, Chennai were available around 1.910/11. They had drifted from pre-match odds at 1.664/6.

It is impossible to list an exact staking plan pre-match, but my strong advice is to bet against the chasing side in between innings, in expectation of the exact same phenomenon. If a respectable total - 150 plus - has been posted, history suggests it will prove highly competitive.

Big-hitting CSK bowlers could surprise

Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson share top billing among the Chennai batsmen at 11/4, closely followed by Suresh Raina at 7/2. All plausible winners and hard to separate.

One angle I like in these markets is taking big prices on the middle and late order, in hope of early wickets. For Chennai, both Mitchell Santner and Harbhajan Singh can be devastating at the death, and could plausibly be promoted in search of boundaries. Try a combo at 25/1 and 50/1 respectively.

Punjab openers hard to oppose

If trying the same strategy with Punjab, Ravi Ashwin would be the bet at 70/1. However my instinct is that either Gayle or Rahul - 23/10 and 11/4 respectively - will win this market more often than not and are preferred to short-priced middle order alternatives such as Miller.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

2019 IPL Stats:

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