After conceding 430 runs in two games, the pre-tournament favourites are under pressure ahead of Saturday's clash with Delhi. Paul Krishnamurty says RCB are over-priced both today and for the title...
"This looks a situation to back overs. Both of these bowling units are expensive and both have very powerful batting line-ups...RCB's last two matches yielded 20 and 21 maximums, Delhi's 17 and 20."
Back Over 15.5 Sixes 6u @ 10/11
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils
Saturday, 15:30 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB's perennial underachievers face their second bottom-of-the-table clash this week. After being pulverised by Mumbai, this really is a must-win affair to stay competitive, especially at home to the tournament outsiders. Regardless of today, their current outright odds of [7.0] strike me as very poor value, as seems to prove the case every year in an event they've never won.
Their batsmen may well be capable of anything - and Virat Kohli demonstrated his wellbeing last time with an unbeaten 92 - but the bowling unit remains well short of the required standard. They conceded 217 and 213 in the last two matches - despite Mumbai starting terribly at 0-2 in the latter.
Bar a miraculous Jason Roy inspired turnaround against Mumbai last weekend, Delhi's batsmen have been very disappointing. They failed to set a good target in their opener against Punjab, fell short of a straightforward six-over target against Rajasthan and most recently were skittled by KKR in pursuit of a daunting total.
Despite the franchise's poor recent record, this comes as a surprise. There is class and power throughout their batting line-up and we can expect better contributions from their Indian stars, particularly Gautam Gambhir, at some stage.
Perhaps that will come today against a weaker attack, although Daredevils are relatively profligate with the ball too. Only spinners Rahul Tewatia and Glenn Maxwell have an economy below 8.62. Mohammed Shami a shocking 10.4.
First Innings Runs
Is the M A Chinnaswamy Stadium - scene of so many record-breaking innings - back to it's high-scoring best? Rajasthan's 217 was the best score by more than 50 runs since the 2016 IPL, and RCB's 198 in response confirmed it was a good surface. This pitch was reported to be much better than last season - when eight first innings ranged between 107 and 161 - but that wasn't especially evident in the first match, when Kings XI's 155 proved competitive if not enough.
Regardless of the pitch, this looks a situation to back overs. Both of these bowling units are expensive and both have very powerful batting line-ups, at least when on song. Hopefully 190 plus will be available to back at [3.25] or better.
If conditions are returning to anything like 2016, then a total sixes line of 15.5 is too low. The tally was higher in seven out of nine matches here that season, reaching 20 four times. Given two expensive bowling attacks, that is very feasible. RCB's last two matches yielded 20 and 21 maximums, Delhi's 17 and 20.
There aren't many T20 situations where taking [1.66] about the favourites before the toss makes sense. It certainly doesn't when the team in question finished bottom last year, are tied in the same position again, and have conceded 430 runs in their last two matches. Sure, RCB have the power to set their own formidable totals but the same argument could be applied to Delhi.
Predictably, Kohli leads the way here at 23/10 but the competition is always stiff with RCB. I'm particularly expecting AB De Villiers to do something special soon, as he was in great touch during the recent test series. The South African is a 3/1 chance, just ahead of his compatriot and opener Quinton De Kock at 16/5.
Jason Roy and Colin Munro share favouritism here, although only one of them will probably play. Gambhir is a 3/1 chance and historically decent value at those odds. One standout price is 45/1 about Chris Morris, as this all-rounder is often promoted in pursuit of fast runs.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
IPL 2018 Profit/Loss:
Back Delhi 2u @ [2.5]
Back Over 15.5 Sixes 6u @ 10/11