Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujurat Titans IPL Tips: Faf to thrive yet again in play-off decider

RCB opener Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis is the top tournament runscorer

Paul Krishnamurty previews the final group match of this year's IPL, for which he says Gujurat's sixes line is set too high...

  • RCB must win to qualify

  • Gujurat sixes line looks too high

  • Du Plessis solid value for top batsman


  • Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujurat Titans
    Sunday, 15:00 BST
    Live on Sky Sports Cricket

    Following Saturday's matches, one play-off spot remains up for grabs in today's finale to the group stage. Chennai and Gujurat secured top-two finishes and will contest Qualifier 1. Lucknow are through to the Eliminator, where they will play any one of three teams.

    RCB fate in their own hands

    Rajasthan, who have completed their matches, need both Mumbai and Bangalore to lose. If both win, the place will be determined by net run-rate. Bangalore are currently ahead on that measure, so will know precisely what is required when this match begins.

    By a twist of fate, this is a repeat of an almost identical scenario last year. Gujurat had already qualified and lost their last match to RCB, who duly qualified. Will history repeat itself? The betting is effectively even, with RCB trading very slightly ahead at 1.98 compared to 2.02.

    Motivation factor is the leveller

    Those odds reflect the difference in motivation, as Titans are clearly the better side, having won an extremely impressive 74% of their matches since joining the IPL. But RCB very much rose to the occasion in their previous must-win affair, chasing down what looked a very tricky 187 against Sunrisers.

    For all those reasons, I don't regard this as a game to play the match odds at the start. To add to the confusion, chasers enjoy a 67/33% advantage at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium over the past five years, but the last four matches here went to the team batting first.

    Runs and sixes lines set high

    This is usually a great pitch for runs and sixes. 38% of 1st Innings Runs total come in at 200 or higher, and 76% at 170 plus. 15 or more Total Sixes lands in 71% of matches. Therefore if RCB need to be aggressive to improve their run-rate, conditions should suit. I doubt that will be the case, though, as their run-rate is much better than Mumbai's. Winning should suffice.

    The market clearly expects plenty of maximums, with the Over/Under line set at 18.5, and 9.5 for either team. RCB have a clear advantage on this score, leading 104-87 throughout the tournament. Indeed given Gujurat average less than seven per match, 9.5 looks too high. There is also the possibility of a slower pitch, aiding spinners, at the end of the season. Take the 'Unders'.

    Back Under 9.5 Gujurat Sixes @

    5/6

    Faf rates unarguable value

    The two #OddsBoost batsmen are Faf du Plessis and Shubman Gill, boosted to 11/4 and 13/5 respectively for Top RCB and Gujurat Runscorer. Backing them at these odds would have yielded at substantial profit throughout the tournament - 38% for Gill, 44% for du Plessis.

    In this case, du Plessis is preferred. A notable stat is that either he, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell has finished top scorer in all 13 RCB games. 11/4 represents unarguable value.

    Back Faf du Plessis for Top Bangalore Batsman @

    11/4

    For Gujurat though, better value could lie further down the order. Vijay Shankar has been a revelation this season, improving out of all recognition. He's top-scored twice in ten appearances and batted at four in the latest. Today's 9/1 odds would have yielded 100% profit over the season.

    Back Vijay Shankar for Top Gujurat Batsman @

    9/1

    *Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul's 2023 IPL Profit/Loss

-9.2 units

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