Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals
Monday, 15:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
What an incredible weekend! Saturday was good, with both matches going deep into the final over, but yesterday’s events will surely never be repeated. Both matches went to a Super Over, the second of which was tied, triggering a third!
By comparison, Monday’s match may feel like an afterthought. Far from it. This is effectively the first ‘Cup Final’ of this year’s IPL.
Must-win scenario for both strugglers
Chennai and Rajasthan are among the four sides tied on six points, bottom of the table, with five games remaining. It is possible to finish top-four on 14 points but needs an awful lot to go right. Defeat here probably spells the end of their play-off hopes.
Both teams failed to defend decent totals on Saturday. Less due to their own failings, rather than the brilliance of AB De Villiers and Shikhar Dhawan.
Abu Dhabi set for another very close game
As their points tallies and virtually tied match betting implies, there is very little to choose between them and another close match looks in store. Not least because of the ground.
The recent matches at Abu Dhabi resulted in a 163/163 tie, 148/149, 162/166, 164/162, 167/157. Only the 149 chase was one-sided. The 1st Innings Runs band landed in the 160s twice earlier in the tournament, when scoring was higher including a trio of 190-plus totals.
Scoring and sixes harder at this ground
Indeed, this has been the hardest of the venues to score and the longest boundaries to clear. It must therefore be favourite to be the first to see a very low score. KKR were odds-on to fall below 130 on Saturday before a strong finish recovered their innings to 148.
Neither side’s top order really convinces so there could be some mileage in laying a couple of unders bands at odds-on. Ben Stokes as opener isn’t working for Royals and Robin Uthappa’s 41 on Saturday was his first decent contribution.
Chennai’s ambitions largely revolve around how Shane Watson and Sam Curran go early. That is assuming they play, because Chennai will
surely must make Imran Tahir an overseas pick soon in slowing conditions.
Try a couple of low score options
A slow start with early wickets from either would reduce the par to 150, or even less, given that pitches are getting slower. Try laying 155 plus at 2/51.4 and 150 plus at 2/111.18.
Abu Dhabi also differs from the other grounds in that there hasn’t been a clear toss bias. The tally so far is 7-5 to defenders, with that Super Over making the difference. If the market over-reacts to the toss, it may be worth going the other way.
Samson fair value for top bat
The Oddsboosts here all involve popular overseas players. Faf Du Plessis is enhanced to 3/1 for Top Chennai Runscorer. A fair price to repeat his last performance. Joss Buttler is the same odds for Royals.
Jofra Archer and Sam Curran are 2/1 and 4/1 respectively to be their side’s top wicket-taker.
The best value for me in these markets is 11/2 about Sanju Samson top-scoring for Rajasthan. Sure he isn’t having a great season but he plays every match, bats at three and is top class. Nor are his rivals for this market setting any special standard.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty