Two legendary Indian captains face off in Wednesday's heavyweight clash from Bengaluru. MS Dhoni's CSK have bossed Virat Kohli's RCB in the past and Paul Krishnamurty sees no reason for the trend to change...
"RCB start favourites at [1.89], which seems a travesty based on both recent form and history. Not only have Chennai evidently been the better side in past IPLs - and there's little sign of deterioration - but they've been evidently superior this term."
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Bangalore back to winning ways but weaknesses remain
Inspired by AB De Villiers' first big innings of the tournament, RCB took an important step forward on Saturday, moving back into play-off contention. Today's opposition, however, look significantly tougher than beleagured Delhi. Prior to their suspension, Chennai bossed these heavyweight rivals, winning 12 of their 18 IPL encounters.
At risk of being too picky about what was ultimately a comfortable victory, Bangalore's bowling weakness surfaced again. At one stage Delhi were above evens to get 140 yet ended up with 174 after hammering this tame attack during the death overs. That makes it 604 runs conceded in their last three innings.
Chennai hitting top form
Normal service has resumed after Chennai's two-year suspension. The most consistent side in IPL history are well on course to maintain their record of never missing the play-offs. They will return to the top of the points table if winning today's game in hand on leaders Punjab.
That great CSK line-up was built upon batting power all the way down to eight or nine and very little, including most personnel, has changed. The depth of talent - Raina, Du Plessis, Watson, Rayudu, Dhoni with plenty to come - allows them to attack with impunity and makes them very hard to contain.
Their latest win, having lost the toss and been severely restricted early, was arguably their best. Very few teams take that Sunrisers attack apart, especially in the death overs, but CSK destroyed them with over 130 runs in the final ten. You won't see Rashid Khan go for 12.25 many times in his career.
What represents a good score at the M A Chinnaswamy Stadium these days remains an open question. Nobody reached 170 in the first innings here last season and Delhi only got there with an amazing finish. Then again the total was easily chased down, there were 19 sixes and the penultimate match produced a 217.
217 may seem like an outlier but it is perfectly in keeping with the history of this ground. Both of these sides are stacked with batting power and much better in that discipline than with the ball. The market will surely account for that so the best plan may be to wait for early pitch signals, then back extreme overs bands in-running. 100 in the last ten here is easily attainable in the last ten here. Chennai in particular will be tough to restrict below 200 on a good pitch.
Backing Over 15.5 Sixes paid dividends in Saturday's match, winning with plenty to spare despite a terrible start to the Delhi innings. At 10/11, it looks even better value this time. Bengaluru is a six-hitting ground and, along with Mumbai, these two sides are the most prolific in that regard. Either side can be backed to score Over 7.5 at slightly shorter odds but I prefer to keep both sets of hitters on side.
RCB start favourites at [1.89], which seems a travesty based on both recent form and history. Not only have Chennai evidently been the better side in past IPLs - and there's little sign of deterioration - but they've been evidently superior this term. Despite the inevitable risk of the toss going against us, Chennai must be the bet at [2.1].
As usual, this market is dominated by Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, at odds of 11/5 and 13/5 respectively. Taking them on rarely appeals but if you prefer to back outsiders in these markets, 20/1 about the sometimes explosive Corey Anderson is fair.
Chennai's market is very competitive, which makes 13/5 about favourite Shane Watson look a bit short. Suresh Raina was superb against Sunrisers, leading the recovery with 54 not out, and sets a formidable standard from a plum early batting position at number three.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
IPL 2018 Profit/Loss: