We’re now just over two weeks into the Indian Premier League and every side has played at least four times at the time of writing.
After the introduction of two new teams, the Mega Auction that saw most teams experience huge personnel changes to the extent that some of the are almost unrecognizable and the use of grounds rarely used in the IPL, it’s no surprise that some interesting things have been going on.
Here’s what you need to know if you missed some of the big IPL stories so far, before we know the outcome of Tuesday’s match.
Newbies starting well
New franchises Gujarat and Lucknow have started well. Gujarat are three from four, Lucknow are three from five.
It’s hard enough to start well with so many changes as an established IPL team but it’s even harder to do so as a completely new team.
But the two newbies have impressed.
Gujarat will rely heavily on their world-class bowling trio of Rashid Khan, Lockie Ferguson and Mohammed Shami plus the all-round skills of Hardik Pandya to secure plenty of wins.
But their batting looks a little weak in the absence of a world class batter.
Lucknow, on the other hand, look strong as an all-round unit. It may lack three world class bowlers like Gujarat have but they have a top drawer opening partnership in KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, great balance with Jason Holder, Marcus Stoinis and Deepak Hooda, while youngsters Ravi Bishnoi and Ayush Badoni have already impressed.
Betway make it 7.5 Lucknow and 8.0 Gujarat for the 2022 IPL title.
If the Titans win their next game they’ll be in an excellent position but of the two, the Super Giants look better prepared for an assault on the title.
Here’s our Betway review where we discuss all the different features of one of India’s best-loved betting sites.
Spinners big favourites for Purple Cap
The top two wicket-takers in the tournament and three of the top six are spinners.
Leading the way is Yuzvendra Chahal with 11 wickets, after just four games. The former RCB man was snapped up by Rajasthan for big money and he’s justifying his fee already. He was man-of-the-match in Sunday’s win over Lucknow and is looking in fantastic form.
Hot on his heels with 10 is Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm spinner has had a tough time of it over the last year with injuries and loss of form but is making up for lost time with some superb performances after leaving KKR and going to Delhi.
Also on 10 is pace bowler Umesh Yadav of KKR, but so is Sri Lankan leg spinner Hasaranga da Silva, who may well add to that tally against CSK on Tuesday.
So it’s very much advantage to the spinners right now but the stats aren’t on their side.
In the history of the IPL, only Pragyan Ojha (2010) and Imran Tahir (2019) have won the Purple Cap from among spinners.
Openers with monopoly of Orange Cap
The top four batsmen in the competition are all openers.
Here are their respective number of runs and the number of matches they’ve played so far: Jos Buttler (218, four matches), Quinton de Kock (188, five), Shubman Gill (187, four) and Ishan Kishan (175, four).
None of this should come as any great surprise.
In every edition of the IPL to date, the winner of the Orange Cap has been an opening batsman.
We talk about the importance of being an opening batsman in both individual matches and tournament top batsman winners in our top batsman guide; it’s just about the most important factor of all.
So if you’d rather stay away from the favourites and want to take a gamble on classy openers at far bigger prices who may yet come good, here are a few to consider: Shikhar Dhawan of Punjab, Abhishek Sharma of SRH and last but not least, KL Rahul.
A reminder that Rahul has been in the Top 3 for the Orange Cap over the last three seasons, winning it in 2020.
So you don’t want to discount him just yet, despite a slowish start that has yielded just 132 runs from five games.
SRH far better value than Mumbai
Mumbai’s race may already be run. Four games, four losses. Their start has been so poor that in a bid to change their fortunes, they played just two overseas players in their last match, leaving out the likes of Tim David, David Sams and Tymal Mills.
It didn’t work because they lost that one, too.
But curiously, at odds of 15.0 they’re shorter in the betting than SRH.
That makes little sense because Mumbai have it all to do after being zero from four, while SRH may have lost their first two but bounced back to win their next two. That included an excellent win as outsiders against Gujarat, tipped up in our SRH v Gujarat preview at odds of 2.26.
Mumbai would have to go on a run of at least three unbeaten games up next to get back in contention while SRH are bang in contention.
Crucially, they’ve seriously improved by the game, putting in their worst performance in their first match and arguably their best in that win over the Titans with a good bowling performance, followed by a pretty clinical chase.
If they keep on improving, they could yet surprise some people. They have after all, won it before.
Chasers still in pole position
So far 65% of matches in this season’s IPL have been won by the team batting second. After the first week, the percentage was actually significantly higher than even that.
There are two reasons for that.
The first is dew. You can read about the so-called ‘dew factor’ in our guide to T20 betting but here’s what you need to know in a nutshell.
Dew only appears in the evening so in IPL day-night matches it’s only present in the second innings. So there’s normally no dew in the first innings, but there’s plenty in the second.
The dew makes the ball hard to grip, particularly for spinners, leading to less control, which can lead to wides, bowls that are too full or too wide, easy pickings for batsmen.
So it’s far harder bowling with the wet ball in the second innings than a dry one in the first.
The other factor is just a general preference in T20 betting for batting second, based on the idea that it’s easier to know what your target is and get there, than trying to set and chase one.
That’s what happened in the World Cup just gone, where just about every match, including the two semis and the final, were won by the chasing side.
So if in doubt at the break, go with the side batting second.