CSK’s side markets the best route to profit

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Chennai Super Kings v Kings Punjab
Sunday 3 April, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Toss losses haunting Jadeja

Two games, two losses. Not a great start from the defending campions who were outplayed for a second game.

But let’s not be too harsh on them. So far only one match has been won by the side batting first so perhaps the greatest sin of Ravindra Jadeja’s short career as a captain is that he lost two tosses in a row.

They may have posted 210 against Lucknow but even at the time, it looked like it might not be enough.

They had Lucknow in trouble at various stages of the chase but a belter of a wicket, short boundaries and above all, lots of dew, meant it was KL Rahul and co holding all the trump cards.

They’re badly missing the injured Deepak Chahar though of course it didn’t help that Adam Milne and Chris Jordan were both injured.

They only fielded three overseas players in that last game so if one of those two is fit, he’ll come in for one of Tushar Deshpande or Mukesh Choudhary.

Likely XI: Gaikwad, Uthappa, Ali, Rayudu, Jadeja, Pretorius, Dhoni, Dube, Bravo, Jordan, Deshpande.

Punjab could be this year’s enigma side

Punjab may well prove to be one of those wildly unpredictable teams who you never know what you’re going to get out of them.

In their first match they looked the real deal with a superb chase but were perhaps guilty of going at it too hard against KKR in the second. One thing all of the best T20 teams learn at one stage or another is that (toss bias or otherwise) you don’t always need to score 180 first up.

Given the wobble Kolkata had in the chase before some brutal hitting from Andre Russell and you’d think that if they’d got to 160 rather than going for 180, they may have had KKR under real pressure.

We’ll have to wait and see if Jonny Bairstow is available for this one but it will create a tough decision for the PK management if he is.

The obvious candidate to make way would be Bhanhuka Rajapaksa but he’s been really good so far with 31 off 9 and 43 off 22.

Possible XI:
Agarwal, Dhawan, Rajapaksa, Livingstone, Bawa, Shahruck Khan, Smith, Brar, Singh, Rabada, Chahal.

Pitch report

We’re at Brabourne for this one and the early signs are that there will be plenty of runs.

This is where Delhi chased Mumbai’s 178 with surprising ease despite a middle-order collapse and where Lucknow got up against CSK, as we’ve mentioned already.

Given Mumbai didn’t have a great game with the bat with only Ishan Kishan getting going and you’d think they left a good 20 runs out there.

CSK got over 200 without doing anything spectacular so you’d think 200 is about par.

But even then that might not be enough with the wicket staying true over 40 overs and the added difficulties caused by dew for the side batting first.

Winning the toss and chasing will be half the battle won and expect the team of the captain calling right to shorten considerably immediately.

Punjab value at pre-toss odds

If you’re desperate to have a bet on this match pre-toss and aren’t going to be around to trade it on the Exchange, go with Punjab as 2.35/4 outsiders.

There’s no reason why CSK should be that short after what we’ve seen so far from them, to go with the fact that they’re sweating on the fitness of two overseas bowlers who they’re badly missing.

And yes, Punjab’s batsmen had a bad day at the office on Friday but on another day they’ll look like a million dollars with so many power-hitters playing without fear.

The big reason why CSK are shortish favourites, other than their overall IPL record, is their head-to-head record against Punjab; they’re 10-15 up, which is pretty impressive.

Ind MS Dhoni 1280.jpg

But then again, maybe all of this is missing the point. It really might be a case of ‘win the toss, bowl, win the game’.

The case for Pretorius

All-rounders rarely have it all their own way by contributing with both runs and wickets. It tends to be one or the other.

And that was certainly the case with Dwayne Pretorius on Thursday. He joined a very unwanted list to be on when he was dismissed for a golden duck on his IPL debut when CSK were crying out for some big hits at the death.

But he hit back with the ball, dismissing both openers in a spell that was right up there with the best in the match, particularly given it was such a high-scoring game: 2-31.

He was one of only three CSK bowlers to bowl their full four overs with the spin of Jadeja and Moeen Ali deemed too risky, and that may be the case again in this match.

With no champion bowler around unless Jordan or Milne recover, he may not have much to beat and odds of 11/2 look pretty big on him repeating the trick and being top bowler again.

Little Rayudu too big

Working out how CSK are going to go about things with their batting line-up has been a fun game over the years because it’s often been anyone’s guess as to who bats where.

But I’d be surprised if Ambati Rayudu bats outside the Top 4 for a second successive game after Shivam Dube (who to be fair played very well for his 49 off 30) came in ahead of him at four last time out.

There’s not much of him at 1.73m but he’s more powerful than he looks so has the big shots in him when needed.

Ruturaj Gaikwad has had two failures after last year’s heroics, Robin Uthappa has always been a bit hit and miss and Ali can be guilty of being a bit too aggressive at times and going for broke once too often. Fine for the team that he plays like that, not so great when you’ve backed him.

So at 17/2 you can back in Rayudu a proven IPL middle-order performer with bags of experience who could be in for the long haul.