Ed Hawkins says RCB are a dreadful price in the match odds market given their struggles but believes their skipper is worth backing to find form in Jaipur on Tuesday...
"Bangalore should only be that short to beat themselves. Wagering on them at those odds would be an act of gross stupidity"
Rajasthan Royals v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Live on BT Sport and Star Gold (Sky channel 729)
Royals in trouble
Rajasthan are in trouble. Three defeats out of three, and this after they had to hit the ground running to avoid the grind later when Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, and possibly Jofra Archer, on this form, leave for World Cup duty. Their campaign looks over before it has started.
They were unfortunate against Kings XI Punjab. The mankading of Buttler cost them certain victory it seems. And they have twice been seriously in the hunt against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.
Against Sunrisers they threw down the gauntlet with 198, which would have been the hosts' highest chase. Unfortunately, David Warner went stratospheric and the game was up. Against Chennai they were bang in charge. Royals had them down at 27 for three. A recovery of sorts was inevitable with Chennai's class, though Royals would have been happy at the start of the 19th.
Alas, Jaydev Unadkat went for 28 off the final over - the third worst last-over implosion in IPL - and Chennai scorched to an improbable 175. Buttler, who has to fire it seems, and Sanju Samson, a ton against Sunrisers, both failed. Late hitting from Stokes and Archer wasn't enough.
Unlike Rajasthan, Bangalore have failed to be competitive in two of their three defeats. How can a team boasting Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers have been beaten inside the first few overs against Chennai and Sunrisers? Twas ever thus.
Versus Mumbai they made a decent fist of a chase of 188 with Kohli and De Villiers performing but, in truth, they still needed an unlikely 17 off the last over. Consistently they are behind the rate.
A significant problem has been the lack of contribution from overseas players Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme and Shimron Hetmyer. In that regard Bangalore will be keen for Marcus Stoinis to be available. It would be a surprise if he makes it in time after finishing Australia's ODI series in UAE on Sunday.
Finding space for at least one of Washington Sundar and Pawan Negi would be a good start to getting back on track. They should be automatic picks on ability. But RCB's brains trust doesn't exist. They consistently make baffling decisions - they are already on their third opening combo.
Watch out for bias
The average batting first in eight games in the last three years is 164. There's a toss bias for the side batting first at 62% but we'd want a longer study period before being convinced by such a trend. Kings posted 184 at the venue and the Royals were on course at 108 for one in the 13th before Buttler was dismissed.
Visitors terrible value
A thankless task to find a winner between two teams who have each lost their first three games? Not really. Bangalore are rated at 1.875/6 for this one. They should only be that short to beat themselves. Wagering on them at those odds would be an act of gross stupidity. They are only ever to be even considered at odds against.
Of course we couldn't make out Rajasthan are somehow misunderstood. They're not. But they have got their best XI out on the field, unlike RCB. And there's something to be said for that. Of course, we would prefer if Ish Sodhi was involved but there's no room unless one of Stokes or Smith was axed.
Kohli cops about 33% of the time in the top-bat market in franchise cricket. He is well overdue. He has not topped for RCB in five matches And on that rationale he could be worth supporting. He didn't look out of touch against Mumbai. The 12/5 that Sportsbook offer is a smidge bigger than it should be, too. Buttler is the same price and he could well start to tuck in again against RCB bowlers whose confidence is low in the powerplay after the Warner show.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l