There are four games in the IPL this weekend and Richard Mann has all the action covered with a couple of bets picked out.
Recommended bets: IPL, Mar 30-31
Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians
- When: Saturday March 30 10:30
- Where to watch: Sky Channel 792 and BT Sport
- Odds: Kings XI 6/5 Royals 8/11
Delhi Capitals v Kolkata Knight Riders
Hyderabad Sunrisers v Royal Challengers Bangalore
- When: Sunday March 31 10:30
- Where to watch: Sky Channel 792 and BT Sport
- Odds: Sunrisers 8/11 RCB 6/5
Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals
Hyderabad Sunrisers v Royal Challengers Bangalore (Mar 31)
Having been stunned by Andre Russell in their season opener against Kolkata Knight Riders last Sunday, Sunrisers Hyderabad will play their second game in as many days when hosting Royal Challengers Bangalore, a match that is already a crucial one for the visitors.
Virat Kolhi's RCB outfit have lost their opening two games of IPL 2019 and despite Kohli and AB de Villiers shining with the bat against Mumbai Indians on Thursday, their efforts alone won't be enough to breathe life into a season that is already threatening to unravel into another disappointment.
Sunrisers look the right favourites at around the 8/11 mark and it will be fascinating to see how the battle between leg-spinner Rashid Khan and the aforementioned Kohli and de Villiers pans out.
Another point of interest is David Warner's return top-level cricket following a lengthy ban for his part in the ball-tampering scandal.
Warner was back with a bang when making 85 from 53 balls against Kolkata and with the World Cup and Ashes just around the corner, he will be desperate to impress as competition for places in the Australian side hots up.
Expect Sunrisers to prove too strong here but 8/11 is just about right against an RCB team with the likes of Kolhi and de Villiers at its disposal.
Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals (Mar 31)
Chennai Super Kings might be an ageing side and a poor fielding outfit but last year's IPL winners continue to lead the way and two wins from two starts so far this season suggests another title bid is highly likely.
The evergreen Shane Watson continues to be a dominant force at the top of the order while runs in the recent win over Dehli Capitals will have given Super Kings legend Suresh Raina a boost following a quiet spell in domestic cricket.
MS Dhoni continues to run a well-oiled machine and the bowling remains thoroughly dependable with Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo bringing experience and a high level of skill to the table.
Making the daunting trip to Chennai on Sunday are Rajasthan Royals and their strong English contingent.
Jos Buttler made the headlines in the Royals' opening match against Kings XI Punjab, moving serenely to 69 until he was dismissed via Mankad by Ravichandran Ashwin, but wherever you stand on that particular issue the subsequent batting collapse was a worrying one for Ajinkya Rahane's men who lost eight wickets for 62 runs.
Steve Smith (20) looked in good touch on return from his ball-tampering ban but he, Rahane, Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson were all unable to keep pace with the required run-rate and with fixtures against Sunrisers Hyderabad (Friday) and then the Super Kings on Sunday, things don't get any easier for the Royals.
Jofra Archer was the one shining lights for the Royals against Kings XI, only conceding 17 from his four excellent overs, and he is 5/2 favourite to be the top Rajasthan Royals bowler on Sunday.
However, Chennai's pitch has a history of favouring spin bowlers and turned square when the hosts bundled out Royal Challengers Bangalore for only 70 in the IPL 2019 curtain raiser last Saturday, Tahir, Harbhajan and Jadeja taking eight wickers between them.
With that in mind, spin could be king again and I would be very surprised if the Royals don't include New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in their starting XI.
Sodhi is a terrific bowler who has enjoyed success in all three forms of the game and his exploits in the Big Bash ensured that his services were always going to be in demand for this tournament.
With conditions in Chennai likely to be in his favour and the Royals' attack generally dominated by seam bowlers, Sodhi looks worth a bet at 3/1.
Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians (Mar 30)
The start of IPL 2019 has been a rocky one for Kings XI Punjab with their opening-game defeat of Rajasthan Royals marred by Ravichandran Ashwin's Mankad dismissal of Jos Buttler before they were then beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders a few days later.
Still, Kings XI made a really good fist of trying to chase down KKR's imposing 218-4, despite both KL Rahul and Chris Gayle falling cheaply, with Mayank Agarwal (58), David Miller (59*) and Mandeep Singh (33*) all impressing.
These are encouraging signs for a Kings XI batting line-up that relied far too heavily on Gayle and Rahul last season and with Australian Andrew Tye and Ashwin leading a bowling attack that is serviceable, if not daunting, they ought to win their fair share this season.
Clearly, the Kings XI strength is going to lie with their batting and they might well have too much firepower for Mumbai Indians on Saturday, narrow winners over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday but given a real fright when very nearly failing to defend 188 having seemingly been in control of the match.
Jaspirit Bumrah (4-0-20-3) was again excellent but Lasith Malinga doesn't quite look the force of old and leaked runs, as did Mitchell McClenaghan, and Mumbai could be vulnerable in the face of a Kings XI batting unit that now has depth to match its muscle.
Mumbai's own batting, Rohit Sharma apart, is solid without being spectacular and a middle order built around Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard doesn't look a title-winning one while Hardik Pandya batting as low as number seven in this form of the game is tactical suicide.
All things considered, Kings XI look worth a bet at odds-against hosting a Mumbai outfit who aren't always the most reliable early in the competition and who will surely need to address the make up of their middle-order before they are seen to best effect.
Delhi Capitals v Kolkata Knight Riders (Mar 30)
Kolkata Knight Riders are a perfect two from two so far this season with wins over pre-tournament favourites Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab very much suggesting they are serious contenders for the IPL title.
They looked particularly strong when posting 218-4 against Kings XI but their much-vaunted spin trio of Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla failed to dominate the opposition innings like they usually do and it is worth remembering that KKR didn't convince when overcoming the Sunrisers previously.
In fact, KKR were second best for much of that contest as Sunrisers seemed certain to make a winning start before Andre Russell stepped in with a remarkable exhibition of late hitting, blasting 49 from 19 balls to stun the hosts and pull off a remarkable run chase.
Russell has been the star the show for KKR so far but it would be unfair to expect him to be so in every game and Dehli aren't without a chance given the promising start they have made to this year's competition.
Despite losing to Chennai Super Kings earlier in the week, Dehli look a decent outfit this year and kicked off their campaign with an impressive defeat of Mumbai Indians.
A batting line-up housing the likes of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan will continue to pack a punch but while Trent Boult and Kasigo Rabada lead a strong pace attack, their continued inclusion has meant there is no place for Sri Lankan wrist-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane in the starting line-up.
Lamichhane is an exciting young talent who has already made his mark in the Big Bash and coach Ricky Ponting will surely need to find room for him in his team if Dehli are to compete as the tournament draws on and the wickets become more worn and tired.
For now, Ponting might still be trying to work out his best combination and I'm happy to sit on the fence until he does.