In what could very well be their last relevant game of the season, Rajasthan Royals will take on Kings XI Punjab in a mouth-watering clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday. While a loss for RR will bring their season to an end, a win will dent KXIP’s chances of making the top 4.
Punjab to score over 162.5 runs @ 1.89
Despite being shaky at times, Punjab’s batting has grown from strength to strength and it was on full display in their encounter versus Kolkata earlier this week where, despite missing the services of Mayank Agarwal, they chased down 150 with ease. But what helps this bet, in particular, is not just the batting prowess of Punjab, but the venue involved, Abu Dhabi, which has been a batting paradise. Across the last six innings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, sides have scored 175 runs per inns on average and incidentally, the last game Punjab’s opponents on Friday, Rajasthan, played at this venue, they conceded 195. Seven times this season, Punjab have racked up over 162.5 runs in their innings and in the last game they played at this venue, they scored 162. Barring the oddity that was the CSK game, RR bowlers have been expensive too, and have conceded an average of 172.75 runs per innings across their past four games (minus the CSK encounter). Given Punjab amassed 223 runs in their last H2H clash versus Rajasthan, 162.5 should not be too difficult for the Kings on Friday. Head to Indibet to place what looks like a sure shot bet.
Jofra Archer to be Rajasthan’s top bowler @ 3.15
Step aside Austin 3:15, it’s time for Archer 3:15. Numbers might tell you that Archer is 6th on the wicket-takers list but trust us, barring Rashid Khan, no bowler has remotely had the kind of impact the Barbadian has had this season. Surrounded by an inexperienced and inconsistent string of bowlers who really can’t stay disciplined to save their lives, Archer has single-handedly carried the RR unit this season. 17 wickets in 12 games - bowling all the crunch overs - is ridiculous enough, but these wickets have come at a stupendous ER of 6.71, the best for any pacer in the entire tournament (min 15 wkts). Across 3 of the last 5 RR games, Archer has finished as the team’s ‘Top Bowler’ and in the previous game versus Mumbai, he missed out on the label by a whisker, by virtue of a single run, to Shreyas Gopal. Archer loves Abu Dhabi, and his last few figures at the venue read 2/31, 1/20, 1/34 and 1/18. It’d be pretty naive to not back the speedster to once again deliver the goods for RR.
Punjab to score over 44.5 runs in the powerplay @ 1.89
That Punjab are a top-heavy side is something that’s well known and chronicled and unsurprisingly, with the bat this season, they’ve taken advantage of the field restrictions, scoring 45.5 runs per game on an average. These are figures that are third-best for any side in the competition. However, there is a necessity to dig deep and understand why this bet is so enticing. Punjab have averaged 45.5 runs per game in the powerplay, yes, but since the introduction of Chris Gayle, this number has shot up to 48.2 Across the last five games, no side has averaged more runs in the powerplay than Punjab and in this timeframe, they have scored more than 44.5 runs inside the first six four times, including three 50+ scores. While the introduction of Gayle, himself, has partly been a reason for this change, the added freedom the Big Jamiacan’s entry has given to someone like a KL Rahul also has a lot to do with Punjab’s sudden acceleration in the front six. Expect this trend to continue against Rajasthan, against whom they struck 60 runs in the powerplay in the last H2H clash.