Sunday, December 3, 2023

IPL 2023 specials preview and best bets

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Richard Mann has been scouring the specials markets for the Indian Premier League – check out his best bets here.

Cricket tips: IPL 2023 specials

2pts Jos Buttler top tournament batsman at 8/1 (Sky Bet)

0.5pts e.w. Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore top tournament bowler at 100/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power 1/5 1,2,3,4)

2pts Glenn Maxwell top Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman at 7/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power)

2pts Venkatesh Iyer top Kolkata Knight Riders batsman at 4/1 (Sky Bet)

1pt double Glenn Maxwell & Venkatesh Iyer at 35/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

There are plenty of big prices on offer in the top tournament batsman market for IPL 2023, but recent history tells us that keeping things simple is more often than not the best way to find the winner.

JOS BUTTLER was typically well found in the market last year and came out on top thanks to four brilliant centuries that helped him amass 863 runs across the campaign.

In 2021, Ruturaj Gaikwad was more of a surprise, though hardly unexpected, when he narrowly tipped out Faf du Plessis and KL Rahul. In 2020, Rahul was top dog, having just lost out to David Warner a year earlier.

There’s an obvious trend, then. Recent history tells us that we don’t need to scour lower down the market for a potential flyer, and I haven’t seen a young, top-order batsman as good as Gaikwad since he burst onto the scene, anyway. Not in the IPL.

Gaikwad was considered again this year as I’m not at all concerned by his more modest returns last season, but I would be worried about the likelihood of Chennai Super Kings playing on spinning pitches at Chepauk that prove challenging for batting. As such, he might be at a disadvantage.

The other big runner is that man Rahul whose record in this competition is peerless. He ought to go very well again, and I certainly couldn’t put anyone off given I expect Lucknow Super Giants to contend once more.

Buttler hard to oppose for top batsman

However, he’s only marginally bigger in the betting than last year’s top runscorer, Buttler, and I’m struggling to find reasons as to why the Rajasthan Royals opener won’t have another strong season.

There’s no point look outside the openers in this market and since moving up to open in domestic, franchise and international cricket, Buttler has taken his game to another level.

Barring an on-song Suryakumar Yadav, I don’t think there’s a player in the world to match Buttler in this format, and as I said in my outright preview earlier in the week, I expect the Royals to make the play-offs again at the very least.

The other potential positive for Buttler supporters is that this season sees franchises go back to playing at home and away grounds for the first time since the pandemic.

The Royals will play their home games at Guwahati this term and though we are dealing with a small sample size, the recent international cricket played at this ground has seen good conditions for batting and some particularly high scores.

That will only help Buttler’s cause and I’m very happy to recommend the England captain at 8/1 (Sky Bet).

Top tournament bowler market could surprise

The top tournament bowler market has more potential for a surprise.

Yuvi Chahal was a highly predictable winner last season, but Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan finished first and second in 2021, and few would have predicted that before the tournament began.

Kagiso Rabada was best in 2020, but Imran Tahir sprang a something of a surprise when beating Rabada by a single wicket in 2019.

The main thing to note is that both seamers and spinners have enjoyed plenty of success in this tournament, and returning to home and away venues oppose to playing at neutral grounds probably makes it easier to break things down further.

I’ve already made clear why Gaikwad is passed over for top tournament batsman, and the prospect of the Royals playing on good pitches at home is enough to dissuade me from backing Chahal at 10/1 to follow up last season’s success.

Wanindu Hasaranga is another close to the top of the market I’d be wary of, this time because he may well miss several matches due to international duty with Sri Lanka.

On the back of a dreadful T20 World Cup, I’m not rushing to back Rabada, nor Jofra Archer who I can’t see playing every game for Mumbai Indians as he works his way back to full fitness following a serious back injury.

Young guns fancied to impress

If ever there was a year for this market to be won by a big-priced runner, it’s this, and I’ll be having small wagers on RAVISRINIVASAN SAI KISHORE, AJAY MANDAL and NISHANT SINDHU at massive prices.

Sai Kishore will be familiar to those who watched the IPL last year, having forced his way into the Gujarat Titans starting XI towards the end of their title-winning campaign, picking up two wickets in the final to cap a memorable debut season.

His domestic performances in the last few months confirm he comes into this year’s IPL in good form and that his bowling is developing all the time. At 26 years of age, his career really is in its infancy given how spinners tend to develop later, and I can’t believe he won’t continue to improve.

What I liked about him last season is that he isn’t afraid to throw the ball up in search of wickets, and while opposition teams will be happy to see off fellow Titan Rashid Khan, that may force them to take undue risks against the lesser-known Sai Kishore.

At 100/1, I’m happy to throw a few quid at him, similarly Mandal at 1000/1 and Sindhu at 2500/1 respectively.

Both CSK spinners were picked up at the latest auction, with spin very much the expected modus operandi for the men in yellow this season.

Of course, the likes of Ravi Jadeja and Maheesh Theekshana will be expected to lead the way in that respect, but all the noises coming out of the CSK camp suggest they are banking on turning pitches at home. As such, expect them to select an attack packed with spin.

That could easily lend itself to an unknown quantity playing a big role this year and Mandal has been recruited on the back of some strong domestic displays that indicate this left-arm spinner is developing into a very useful cricketer. He can bat, too, as four First Class hundreds confirm.

How much game time he or Sindhu get this year is hard to be certain of, and more likely, one will get plenty of opportunities while the other carries the drinks.

Like Mandal, Sindhu bowls left arm spin, but he was signed not due to his domestic record, but because of the great potential he has.

The 18-year-old impressed greatly when captaining India’s Under 19 side to another World Cup victory last year, and he has already made rapid progress for Haryana in domestic cricket. In fact, he took six wickets in his last First Class outing, and the signs in T20 cricket have been promising, too.

In MS Dhoni, Mandal and Sindhu have a captain who has already nurtured the careers of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in international cricket, and more recently, his handling of a younger Gaikwad in this competition was most impressive.

Both will get their opportunity to shine in time, and to very small stakes I’m happy to bet that this season proves to a breakthrough year for one of these big-priced spinners.

At the moment, only bet365 have priced the duo up in the top tournament bowler market. On the understanding that not all readers will be able to bet with that firm, or indeed that those prices will hold, I won’t be adding them to the official staking plan.

Instead, the advice, should readers wish to follow me in, is to request a bet with your chosen firm and be prepared to back both men at 500/1 or bigger each-way (first four). I must once again stress that these selections should only be backed to very small stakes.

Maxwell the main man for RCB

The individual team markets don’t appear quite as appealing is in recent years, but I think GLENN MAXWELL is too big for top Royal Challengers Bangalore tournament batsman at 7/1.

Maxwell hasn’t always been the easiest to catch right, but he was RCB’s top runscorer in 2021 when scoring 513 runs, and even though he found last year more of a challenge, he still managed in excess off 300 runs.

He generally batted at number three in 2021 and if RCB want to get the best out of him, getting the Big Show back in the top four on a regular basis is an absolute must.

I reckon du Plessis, RCB’s experienced captain, knows this and I’m backing Maxwell for a big season.

My final selection is VENKATESH IYER who enjoyed a debut season to remember in 2021, striking 370 runs from only 10 matches to help power Kolkata Knight Riders to the final.

Eoin Morgan was his captain that year and only had good things to say about the dashing left hander.

Last year was an obvious case of second-season syndrome, but he wasn’t helped by the constant chopping and changing that held KKR back in a forgettable campaign, though it was pleasing to see him end the competition back in the side and at the top of the order.

With some significant injuries elsewhere in the KKR camp affecting the batting line-up, Iyer will need to step up this year. Good news, then, that his domestic T20 season ended with a string of solid displays.

He should be ready to go and, in a team full of dashers and finishers, he looks a good bet to finish the season as KKR’s leading runscorer.

Take the 4/1 with Sky Bet and I can’t resist a small double with Maxwell, with Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power paying 35/1.

Preview posted at 2140 BST on 29/03/2023

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