The Indian Premier League stages a double-header on Saturday and Richard Mann has a couple of household names in his staking plan.
Recommended bets: Delhi Capitals v Chennai Super Kings
Despite its delayed start and new home - for this season anyway - the latest instalment of the Indian Premier League has not disappointed on the entertainment front with big sixes, huge runs chases and tense finishes delivering some very watchable cricket.
With the tournament this year being held in Dubai, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the old rules regarding home advantage and head-to-head records have been cast aside and a watching brief up until now has probably been the way to go.
With things settling down a touch, and the pitches at the three venues just starting to display understandable signs of wear and tear, finding an angle should become easier in the coming weeks.
With spinners expected to be at a greater advantage in the latter stages of the competition as the wickets offer more and more assistance, punters are sure to put their faith in the slow bowlers. As the likes of Rashid Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal continue to demonstrate, a high-class wrist spinner in this form of the game is priceless, but as I wrote here only a couple of weeks ago, that might help choke the run rate in the middle overs more than provide a big number in the wickets column.
In fact, while often proving more expensive, it is the fast bowlers who have taken more wickets in the tournament so far with not a single spinner currently occupying a spot in the top five wicket-takers in IPL 2020.
A perfect case in point is Kasigo Rabada, who currently tops that list with 18 scalps that have helped Delhi Capitals surge to the top of the league table. Key to Rabada's success has been his ability to withstand the late-innings assault from opposition batsmen and pick up wickets in those slog overs.
His partnership with fellow paceman and South Africa teammate Anrich Nortje has been a joy to watch but the latter has generally plied his trade in the middle overs, while Rabada is usually saved for the death after bowling one over with the new ball up-front. On occasion, if Radaba has got his outswinger on point, he will be asked to be bowl a second over in the powerplay but it is later in the innings when he has come into his own.
With Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer understandably keen to stick with this tried and tested plan of attack, it is unsurprising that Rabada has claimed eight more scalps than Nortje, and 11 more than Delhi spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel so far.
Even as the pitches in Dubai become more worn, and make playing spin well ever more important, there is the possibility that the likes of Rabada and other leading quicks might be able to find some reverse swing with the older ball. Just how much that theory bears fruit remains to be seen but I fancy the seamers will continue to pick up plenty of wickets, if not always as cheaply as the slower bowlers.
That won't bother backers too much, and as such, I'm keen to keep Rabada on side for Saturday's match with Chennai Super Kings - the 9/4 on offer (William Hill) for the South African to finish the match as Delhi's top bowler should not be missed.
In the same match, I can't resist a small play on Sam Curran for Man of the Match honours.
Despite CSK enduring a stuttering start to this years' tournament, Curran has been one of their shining lights with his nine wickets just reward from some clever and typically wholehearted spells in both the powerplay and death overs.
His batting has impressed, too, with 99 runs coming at a rapid strike-rate of 190.38 and earning him a promotion to open the batting for this week's victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad. As ever, Curran didn't disappoint by stroking a brisk 31 to give CSK the early impetus they have been so badly missing in recent matches.
MS Dhoni has already hailed Curran as the 'complete cricketer' and his faith in Curran is something that should not be ignored, particularly given the success CSK have enjoyed over the years when first identifying and then developing talent into some of the most effective T20 players in the world. It is one of the reasons why CSK have such a wonderful record in this competition.
With all that in mind, it seems fair to assume that Curran will continue to thrive in this year's competition and given he is highly likely to open the batting and bowling on Saturday, he looks worth a small play in the Man of the Match market at 14/1 (Sky Bet).
Saturday's earlier game sees Rajasthan Royals take on Royal Challengers Bangalore and this one makes no appeal from a betting point of view.
Despite the odd mishap, RCB's team of big-name stars have generally got their act together this season while the Royals have yet to fire.
I'd probably just prefer RCB here if pushed, but any side housing the likes of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes in their ranks have the potential to quickly bounce back and the Royals could easily do just that.
It's a no-bet match for me with days' second IPL offering much more appealing.
Posted at 1430 BST on 16/10/20
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