The IPL play-offs reach the first death match today, as the Sunrisers Hyderabad face-off against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Bangalore. The winners will face the Mumbai Indians in a semi-final, the losers go home.
The Bangalore track has traditionally been a runs-festival, but this season it has been a bit more tricky. Add in the gradual wear and tear on the pitches, and the nerves of knockout cricket, and we expect this to be a tight affair.
SRH will rely as always on a top-heavy batting order and a skilled and effective squad of miserly bowlers. KKR are a naturally more dashing team, with the rapid Narine and Lynn opening the batting and some big hitters to follow.
SRH openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan have scored over 50% of the team’s runs, and on this big stage there is no reason not to expect more of the same. Warner is 2/1 to top the SRH run-list, and Dhawan is 7/2.
That broadly matches their relative chances of top-scoring. We’ll take the 7/2 that it’s Dhawan’s turn today.
SRH like to bat first, Kolkata like to chase. As such Warner is likely to take the first ball, and the pugnacious Aussie loves to get an early jump on the bowlers. We can back the first ball to go for 4 at 10/1 with Skybet, which is pretty reasonable (66/1 a 6 first ball also has some appeal).
Even if KKR bat first, then the Narine/Lynn combo is, if anything, even more aggressive than Warner.
S. Dhawan, Sunrisers Hyderabad Top Batsman, 7/2 Paddy Power
1st Ball to be a 4, 10/1 Skybet.
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