The stats that FairFranco has posted do make Hill's lines seem quite high today, i've just got a feeling that with Marsh, Singh, Hussey, Mahmood, Sehwag, Warner, Ojha etc....there are so many players that will be looking for boundaries rather than the 1's and 2's.
* First things first and Gambhir looks excellent value at 3/1 to be top batsman against Mumbai. He's Kolkata's top runscorer this year by some way with 30% of their runs and has top scored for the Knight Riders in 7 of their 13 matches so far (one of those matches he was tied with Tiwary), including 6 times in the last 8. He doesn't have a particularly good record against Mumbai, in fact his teammate Kallis is the batsman with most IPL runs against Mumbai, however GG's recent form has been impeccable and 3/1 seems generous.
* The opening partnership choice seems an obvious one when we look at the stats - Kolkata have the highest average opening partnership in IPL 5 with 44.3 runs, while Mumbai have the second lowest average with 20.4. In the past 6 games KKR's average has been a masterful 65, while Mumbai have had 8 opening partnerships this season that haven't even reached double figures! ESPN also speculate that Tendulkar may be missing as he has to take an oath as an MP and if that's the case Kolkata's position would be even stronger as the Indians average opening partnership without him this season has been a mere 9.25.
* Effectively dutching Narine and Malinga for best economy at almost 11/10 seems sensible in this match. They currently have the 2nd and 3rd best economy rates in the tournament respectively (behind Shaun Tait) and Malinga has gone for an average of only 18 runs in the 5 games he's bowled at the Wankhede so far this year while Narine's exploits have been widely talked about.
I think if Tendulkar doesn't play Kolkata may start as favourites and I'll probably be backing KKR pre-match at current odds looking to trade them at a better price hoping that Mumbai's opening partnership cracks again or Kolkata's can post a strong 6 over total. _________________ on Twitter as @AndyLoganTips
Chennai go into this game knowing a win will probably secure them a place in the play-offs, and as they usually do, they have come good at exactly the right time. On paper, I think they have the best side, they probably dont have as many massive stars as some teams such as Delhi have, but they have some very good Indian players, such as Raina, Vijay, Badrinath and Ashwin (along with MS obviously) and this has stood them in good stead. Picking a Top Bat for CSK is always tough because they seem to almost have no tactic at times other than just pure confidence in their own ability to get whatever they need in the last few overs. For MS Dhoni to be 6/1 (with Hills) is in my eyes far too long. He epitomises Chennai's knack of coming good at the right time and loves to play a Captain's innings. He has also been coming in at No.4 which makes the price seem even longer when you compare it to say the 9/2 on ABD later in the day. He hasn't fired properly yet but he will at some point, and is one of the coolest players around under pressurre. I think with CSK's top order not exactly pulling up any tree's he is worth a punt today.
Kings XI bowled very well in their defeat to the Delhi Daredevils but it seems as though you can take that as a given nowadays. Awana has been a great find, and Chawla has been taking wickets even if I'm not exactly sure how at times. Where they struggle is with the bat. They dont really have a big name batsmen to shoulder the responsibility. I said in my last post about Kings XI that Top Bat was between Hussey and Singh, and after they placed 1st and 2nd in that game, I see no reason to change tact much today. However, last time out I went marginally for Hussey, and this time I am leaning slightly toward Mandeep Singh He will open the batting for Kings XI and Chennai have occasionally struggled to take wickets at the beginning of an innings (although admittedly this has changed slightly with the inclusion of Hilfenhaus) What Chennai have done well at times is to bog teams down in the middle of an innings, and this was the case in their last game against the KKR with Jakati, Jadega and Ashwin doing an excellent job of turning a runaway total into a quite modest one. If Singh can have a few runs on the board by then it may be difficult for any of the middle-order to go past him.
In terms of match winner, it has to be CSK for me. They are a very experienced team and know what its like to play under pressure. They also seem to have the God's smiling on them at times, and it almost wouldnt be the IPL without CSK somehow sneaking into the play-offs right at the death. Expect them to make it as difficult as possible for themselves in the process, but I think they will just do enough.
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