Lucknow rate top value to compound Mumbai misery

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Lucknow Super Giants v Mumbai Indians
Sunday, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

They started as tournament favourites, boasting arguably the best historic IPL credentials, yet Mumbai Indians have lost all seven of their matches. Back at their usual home stadium, can they finally get off the mark?

LSG odds simply too big to ignore

Despite the gulf between their respective results so far, the market here rates both sides even at odds of 2.01/1. The only possible explanation can be the team’s long-term reputation and popularity with bettors. Frankly, Mumbai have been a disaster whilst their opponents have legitimate title claims, within two points of top place at the time of writing.

Consider Mumbai’s matches. Three teams batted first against them, supposedly a disadvantage, recording totals of 193, 198 and 199. Of the four teams batting second, three easily chased down the total. Only the Chennai match, last time out, was close, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Mumbai didn’t just labour to 155. It was a miracle, requiring four very easy dropped catches. Another day, they could have been all out for 100. Plus their opponents were the team placed second bottom.

Mumbai struggling in all departments

The team is in disarray. Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan are in miserable form, the tail has been too long in some games and the bowling unit simply aren’t threatening enough. One positive at least on the last front was Daniel Sams taking four wickets. He’ll surely retain his place now and strengthen that tail. More on that later.

When these sides met earlier, Lucknow won by 18 runs at the Brabourne, with K.L. Rahul hitting an unbeaten ton. They’ve only played once since, losing to a Faf-inspired RCB, the tournament favourites. Looking at the longer-term and the balance of their side, they look considerably superior to Mumbai.

Lucknow batting depth looks formidable now

In Rahul and Quinton de Kock, they have arguably the best opening pair. Now Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder are available, they’ve got great balance with two all-rounders who can finish. The latter can form a great death bowling partnership with Avesh Khan. In Ravi Bishnoi and Krunal Pandya, they have two spinners who should come become more potent now on used pitches.

I’m not overly worried about a toss bias. In 17 games at the Wankhede over the past two years, chasers lead defenders 9-8. The last three were won from batting first. In this case, presented with what I regard completely unjustifiable odds, we must bet pre-match at Evens.

Back overs on runs after halfway

The last match here produced 435 runs, with Rajasthan hitting 222 first up. Presumably this will be a different strip but the Wankhede scoring trends were illustrated perfectly. Buttler and Padikkal were cautious early, saving wickets for what they knew was a golden opportunity in the final ten overs. From halfway, they hit 135 runs.

Obviously that is an extreme but the boundaries are short. In the penultimate match here, RCB hit 89 off the last seven and that is pretty much the standard. If memory serves, odds around 4.03/1 were available at the 13 over mark on the highest runs band they beat.

This is definitely a superior way to trade runs at the Wankhede, as opposed to forming a judgement pre-match. Early wickets are frequent so wait and re-assess the situation after the first powerplay. Don’t shy away from the extreme ‘overs’ targets.

I’m tempted to back Over 14.5 Sixes. 26 were hit on Friday and the bet has landed five matches on the spin. However the nature of T20 means such runs are bound to end and scores are beginning to come down, so swerve that.

Try Mumbai finishers at big odds

One consequence of those trends is that middle-order batsmen have a better chance of top-scoring at this ground, because most runs are scored in the second half of the innings.

With Mumbai’s top order in such bad form, let’s back their numbers six and seven, Kieron Pollard and Daniel Sams at 10/1 and 40/1 respectively. Pollard has a long history of flicking sixes over these boundaries, while the latter is no mug with the bat. Sams has often been promoted much higher in the Big Bash.

As usual there are two #OddsBoosts available on openers. Rahul is enhanced to 23/10 for Lucknow, Sharma to 10/3 for Mumbai.

Finally regarding Top Lucknow Wicket-Taker, Avesh Khan is too short at 2/1. As Ed Hawkins points out time and again on Cricket…Only Bettor, Jason Holder consistently returns a profit in this market. 10/3 is very fair.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty