We’re now three and a half weeks into the IPL 2022 and we’ve already witnessed some excellent matches, some big surprises, a match won by hitting two sixes (off the last two balls) to seal victory by a single run… The season saw some strong starts in the table and a couple of huge disappointments.
Any by the latter, we do of course mean the fact that both Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the IPL’s two most successful teams no less, couldn’t have started any worse. Just before we get to the halfway mark of the Group Stages, their race is run.
But if that’s what we’ve seen so far in a nutshell, then how about what we might see from here till the end of the tournament? Let’s pick out the best bets…
KL Rahul can win the Orange Cap
The slight issue with this bet is that if you’d backed the Lucknow skipper a couple of weeks ago, he would have been available at much bigger odds than he is now.
Rahul literally couldn’t have started life at Lucknow any worse off than he did at his new franchise; he got out first ball in his first game for them.
With other big-name batsmen making strong starts, including the likes of Jos Buttler and Shikhar Dhawan, you could have got bigger odds on Rahul at this stage.
They say it’s hard to keep a good man down. And it’s harder to keep down a man who is arguably the best batsman in the whole of the IPL. At least that’s what KL Rahul’s stats suggest.
Three years ago, he was runner-up for the Orange Cap, and last year he came third. In between that (2020), he won it. On all three occasions he did so while playing fewer matches than the others in contention and whilst playing for a relatively weak side in Punjab. No other batsman in the IPL has been that consistent over the last few seasons as Rahul.
Since that first ball failure, Rahul hit back with scores of 40, 68 and 24 before then getting out for his second golden duck of the campaign, LBW to Trent Boult of Rajasthan.
But he saved his best for his most recent game. On a good track at Brabourne, he hit a flawless century against Mumbai to go second on the run list on 235 runs from six games.
- The bad news is the Royals’ Buttler is still 272 runs ahead of him and has a game in hand at the time of writing.
- The good news is that Rahul’s track record, current form and class suggest he’ll consistently carry on making big scores.
And unlike in previous seasons, he’ll get extra games in the Playoffs to add to his tally.
He was bigger than 4.50 earlier in the campaign as we just said, but those odds are still worth taking now. Back KL Rahul to in the Orange Cap at 4.50!
A pace bowler will win the Purple Cap
In the race for the Purple Cap, it was very much first blood for the spinners.
The likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Hasaranga de Silva, Kuldeep Yadav and Rahul Chahar took plenty of wickets in their first few games to suggest a twirler could win the Purple Cap this year.
But as ever, it’s worth looking at the history books to see what’s happened in the past. The history books suggest spinners tend to miss out on the biggest prize for IPL bowlers.
Only twice in the history of the competition has the Purple Cap winner been a spinner: Pragyan Ojha (2010) and Imran Tahir (2019).
TIP So, the smart money is on the winner, being a pace bowler and we’ll need to add a few more filters to that.
The Purple Cap winner needs to have made a strong start, or else will have too much catching up to do, so needs a minimum of eight wickets so far. He also needs to be a death bowler, as that’s when wickets tend to fall the most and it’s also the best chance to pick up cheap wickets: either against set batsmen trying to hit sixes, or against tail enders.
For our last filter, we’re going to insist they have high career strike rates: the average number of balls they need in T20 to take a wicket.
TIP Lockie Ferguson and Uman Malik tick all those boxes, play for sides likely to make the Playoffs and are available at generous odds.
The final could be between the two new teams
Mumbai are 34.00 and CSK are 25.90 to win this season’s IPL, but you could double those odds and they still wouldn’t be big enough to be worth it, given just how poor and far behind the rest those two teams are.
But of the other eight, all of them are still in a position to make the final. So, which two could be there? Don’t rule out the possibility of the two new franchises hitting the ground running in their debut season and contesting it.
Gujarat have plenty going for them. Their bowling trio of Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson and Rashid Kahn is probably the best in the competition, skipper Hardik Pandya has been in fine form with both bat and ball, and different heroes have emerged with the bat to win them games, at one stage or another.
The other important point about the Titans is that they’ve started the season better than anyone else. They’re the only side to have got to five wins so far (from six games) so are in pole position to finish Top 2 and get two bites of the cherry at making the final.
Lucknow Super Giants
We’ve discussed the wonderful KL Rahul already and he doesn’t have a bad opening partner in Quinton de Kock, while overseas all-rounders Jason Holder and Marcus Stoinis offer excellent balance to the team.
The experienced Deepak Hooda is having a fine tournament, youngster Ravi Bishnoi is another spinner in form and all in all, everyone is doing their bit. They’re four from six so far and actually seem to be getting better.
It would be some achievement for the two new teams to contest the final but given what we’ve seen so far, they have every chance.
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