Ed Hawkins is expecting the batsmen to dominate in Sharjah on Sunday on a flat pitch with small boundaries...
"Legspinners have the best strike rate at this venue and Shreyas Gopal has the best win rate for Rajasthan on the top wicket-taker market"
Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI
Sunday 27 September, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Rajasthan got off to a flying start in their opener against Chennai Super Kings, thrashing the powerful franchise. And without Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to boot.
Stokes is unlikely to return but Buttler should be available, meaning the Royals may have to reshuffle their batting order. Steven Smith and Sanju Samson were in fine form against CSK at Nos 2 and 3. To keep that batting order, youngster Yashavi Jaiswal and David Miller, who got a golden duck, could be dropped.
That would free up the overseas slot for Buttler and space for another batter or bowler. Mayank Markande could be a good pick to take the pace off.
Possible XI Buttler, Smith, Samson, Uthappa, Tewatia, Parg, T Curran, Archer, Gopal, Unadkat
Kings have looked strong so far. They were unfortunate to be denied the win against Delhi Capitals with an incorrect line call but they made up for it by thrashing Royal Challengers Bangalore.
KL Rahul was the star of the show, perfectly timing an innings of 132 to launch an assault that knocked the stuffing out of their rivals at the death. They posted 206 and then steamrollered the RCB batting for just 109. Spinners Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi then took three wickets apiece.
It is true that Kings have been fast sterters in each of the last two tournaments before badly losing their way. At the moment their balance looks excellent and with Bishnoi a surprise package they have a decent play-off shout.
Probable XI Rahul, Agarwal, Pooran, Maxwell, Nair, Neesham, Khan, Shami, Cottrell, Bishnoi, Ashwin
Last year head-to-heads
KP 182-6 (Rahul 52, Archer 3-15) defended RR 170-7 (Tripathi 50)
KP 184-4 (Gayle 79) defended RR 170-9 (Buttler 69)
Overall RR 10 KP 9
The Sharjah surface was expected to be the best for batting in the tournament and it didn't disappoint with Royals smashing 216 against Chennai. The pitch is flat and the boundaries short. Before the Royals assault 178 was the average winning score so nine an over looks likely to be the minimum requirement. We note the 15/2 that Sportsbook offer about a century being scored. We also advise going high on overs at the death of the first innings. Look for 30 0r 40 runs extra at big numbers.
Rajasthan are 20/211.94 and Kings 21/202.04. It's not a huge surprise the market is struggling to split the pair. The team bowling first is likely to come under significant pressure and we would be surprised to see them shorter than 7/52.40 at the break.
The market could be even harsher with the current tournament trend for the chaser struggling - only one has won so far. It is curious given the historic trend for defender to suffer and it has been strange to see the team batting second so ponderous in reply.
A quick in and out trade strategy seems obvious. We expect the team batting first to shorten up very quickly in the first six overs of powerplay.
Legspinners have the best strike rate at this venue and Shreyas Gopal has the best win rate for Rajasthan on the top wicket-taker market. Sportsbook rate him at 7/2 but he wins at a rate of 11/5.
Buttler has a win rate of 41% on the top bats for the Royals so it is a surprise Sportsbook have boosted his price to 3/1, giving us more than 15 points. Why have they done that?
Probably because the wicket is so flat that a 40 or 50 might not be enough. Be smarter then and take the 11/5 that Buttler scores a fifty, taking team-mates out of the equation. Since moving up to open (33 games all teams) Buttler scores a 50 45% of the time. Rahul has been boosted to 11/4 but we don't play for back-to-back winners.
How to bet Indian Premier League on Cricket...Only Bettor
Ed Hawkins IPL P-L
+12 (9pts staked)