Trust the points table and back Titans

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Gujurat Titans v Chennai Super Kings
Sunday, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Gujurat Titans continue to thrive on their first IPL appearance, and usurped the tournament favourites with a tremendous win last time. Going into the weekend matches, they headed the market at odds of 6.411/2. Next, they face the outsiders of ten. Chennai opened their account with a similarly impressive win over a title contender, RCB.

Titans were outstanding last time

To record 193 against that Rajasthan attack is by definition, impressive. Even more so considering they were 15-2 and the middle-order exposed much earlier than ideal. I’ve been sceptical about the wisdom of using a powerful finisher like Hardik Pandya at number four but he stepped up in magnificent style, hitting 87 off 52.

Hardik was ably assisted by Abhinav Manohar, who hit 43 off 28. This guy could be the answer to Gujarat’s weakness. With David Miller and Rahul Tewatia to come at six and seven, they may be less reliant on Shubman Gill than first thought. Manohor also represents cracking value to top-score for his side today at odds of 19.018/1.

Dube proving a great signing for CSK

Not dissimilar comments apply to that Chennai performance. At 36-2, 150 looked a challenge. 216 seemed an unimaginable total before Shivam Dube came to the party. Few identified Dube as an important signing but he is excelling, hitting 207 runs so far at a strike-rate of 177.

Robin Uthappa aside, the rest of Chennai’s power packed line-up are yet to deliver. Surely at some stage, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali will do so. However their bowling remains well short of the level required. Nobody has an economy below 7.6.

Gujurat bowlers look way superior

For me, bowling is the critical difference between these two sides. Gujurat’s star trio of Rashid Khan, Lockie Ferguson and Mohammed Shami are a class apart. I’m amazed to see even betting here, with both sides trading around 2.01/1. The points table is not lying.

Obviously, I am generally loathe to bet on the result before the toss. However this ground may offer an exception. Albeit from a small sample, the bias towards chasing sides has not borne out so far at the MCA International Stadium, Pune. Defenders lead 3-1 so far. If Gujarat bat first (presumably after losing the toss), their bowlers would have every chance of defending a good total.

So what constitutes that good total? The four 1st Innings Runs totals at Pune were 161, 171, 198 and 210. The lowest total was the one successfully chased. I reckon par is around 175-180, and that the market will open around there. No bet for me here.

Total Sixes is more interesting. The line is 14.5, which was smashed in three of the four matches. On average, they yielded nearly 17 per match. Again, I’ll swerve due to lingering question marks over the Gujurat top order but would nevertheless lean towards ‘Overs’.

Moeen fairly priced and overdue a big innings

As usual, the favourites for Top Team Runscorer are the subject of #OddsBoosts. Shubman Gill is enhanced to 13/5 for Gujurat, Ruturaj Gaikwad to 11/4 for Chennai.

As mentioned above, I prefer big odds about Manohar for Gujurat and he’s also an enormous 81.080/1 to be Top Match Batsman. In the same market, 9/1 about Moeen Ali also appeals. These are big odds about a class act, batting at three.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty