Richard Mann brings you the latest betting pointers for IPL 2022 as the showpiece tournament reaches the latter stages.
Gujarat Titans began IPL 2022 as 12/1 outsiders with Sky Bet, embarking on their maiden campaign with a squad apparently light on quality and with plenty of holes in the batting. A few weeks on and the Titans are currently top of the league table and appear set to qualify for the play-offs via one of the priceless top two spots.
Despite losing two of their last three fixtures, the Titans still have nine wins from 12 matches and on Tuesday displayed their bowling might when skittling out fellow high-flyers Lucknow Super Giants for only 82.
That bowling attack has always boasted plenty of quality, courtesy of Rashid Khan and Mohammed Shami, but though looking weak on paper, the likes of Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya and David Miller have ensured the batting has just about done the job, without providing the fear-factor some of the other franchises can.
At the time of writing, the Titans are general 2/1 chances to make their maiden IPL season a winning one, in part because the top two qualifiers have two chances in the play-offs to reach the final.
It’s a similar story for the Super Giants who are currently priced up at 3/1, with a top two finishing position less certain but seemingly having lots in their favour having won four on the bounce until meeting defeat against the Titans recently.
Of those two outfits, the Super Giants make more appeal on paper. Their opening pair of KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock might be the best in the competition, with Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni and Marcus Stoinis providing fireworks from the middle order.
The bowling has been excellent, too, Dushmantha Chameera and Mohsin Khan proving real surprise packages.
Should the Super Giants secure that second spot and a golden ticket to the final, I would prefer their superior batting prowess over the Titans, but they still have Rajasthan Royals – currently third in the table and due to play on Wednesday afternoon – to face, and the Royals remain very live title contenders themselves.
With Jos Buttler dominating the competition this season, making three hundreds already and leading the way in the runs chart, the Royals shouldn’t be short of firepower if Devdutt Padikkal and Sanju Samson can also pull their weight. New father Shimron Hetmyer is expected to return for the latter stages of the tournament, too.
New recruits Yuvi Chahal and Ravi Ashwin have already formed a potent spin pairing, but seamers Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna do need to step up to the plate. The former, in particular, has been short of wickets of late.
Nevertheless, with signs already that the heavily-used pitches in India are starting to take more and more spin, Chahal and Ashwin have the potential to power the Royals to title glory, particularly if Buttler continues on his merry way with the bat.
If they can somehow manage to overtake the Super Giants and claim that priceless second spot in the league, current odds of 4/1 about Royals could look very attractive, and I still think taking a chance on either of these two sides, oppose to the Titans, makes most appeal.
As well as they’ve played thus far, backing a batting line-up as weak at the Titans one for IPL glory does not sit comfortably.
Of the rest, Royal Challengers Bangalore are frontrunners for the fourth play-off spot, but Virat Kohli’s form remains a big concern and Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell have plenty on their plate if they are to cover for the struggling star.
Josh Hazlewood has proven to be an excellent auction pick-up, and along with wrist-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, will ensure the bowling always packs a punch.
Sadly, the rest already appear to have run their race, meaning plenty of dead-rubbers await in the coming matches, though a resurgent Chennai Super Kings might well have an impact on just how things play out from here on in, for all the remainder of their own campaign is now about building for next season and trying to finish this one by claiming a few big scalps.
Betting in top bowler markets in this format, either outright or on a match-by-match basis, is often an exercise in selecting the best fast bowler at the death. In IPL 2021, the top five leading wicket-takers were all seamers.
Spinners have long had immeasurable value in T20 cricket, but so often their role has been to make key breakthroughs and then control the run rate in the middle part of the innings until the seamers take over in the slog overs.
But this season is already playing out differently, with wrist spinners Yuvi Chahal and Wanindu Hasaranga currently leading the way for tournament wickets with 22 and 21 scalps respectively, while Kuldeep Yadav is the third wrist spinner to make the top five with 18. Following an unusually quiet start, Rashid Khan claimed 4-24 on Tuesday to take his tally to 15.
This highlights how spinners, and in particular wrist spinners, have made their mark in IPL 2022, despite the pitches yet to completely deteriorate like we have sometimes seen in past years. If that does start to happen in the last two weeks of the competition, expect spinners to come to the fore even more.
While this is something to clearly bear in mind in any top bowler markets going forward, the Man of the Match market often presents much bigger value. The aforementioned Yadav has already scooped the award on four occasions this term, Chahal and Hasaranga twice.
Hasaranga is 12/1 in that market when RCB take on Punjab Kings on Friday, while there are plenty of other high-quality spinners in this tournament who might just be about to spring into life at the end of season when spin has very much been king.
Making note of this and tailoring betting strategies accordingly might prove to be a shrewd move in the remaining fixtures.
My weekend previews have already made reference to Sean Abbott’s batting abilities and I will be keeping him on side at big prices in the top Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman market from now on. Whether he gets another chance to show his worth this season will be the only stumbling block.
However, one man I’m really expecting big things from in the coming weeks is Glenn Maxwell.
The Australian lit up this competition 12 months ago, almost single-handedly dragging RCB to title glory, but this season has been more of a challenge as he has often found himself coming in too late and with too few balls remaining.
Still, Maxwell strike-rate of 167.82 confirms he remains in good touch and a couple of rapid thirties in recent weeks, sandwiched between an unfortunate run out, suggests he is close to really making his mark on this year's competition.
Furthermore, his very handy off spin has been used more and more as the tournament has progressed, helping him pick up 1-13 and 2-22 in his last two appearances. Expect RCB to continue with that plan and if they are to mount a serious title challenge, they will need their X-factor man to deliver with both bat and ball.
Keeping Maxwell on side as RCB enter this crucial phase of the campaign might just pay handsomely, for RCB and punters alike.
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