The Indian Premier League moves back to the DY Patil Stadium on Thursday as the league leaders Rajasthan Royals take on the Gujarat Titans in a clash between two sides who have made positive starts to the season.
Both teams have won three of their opening four matches this term which means that the incentive for each side is that whoever wins this match will finish the day on top of the table as we head towards the halfway mark in the first stage of the season.
The Rajasthan Royals are going really well at the minute. It isn’t just that they have won their opening three matches but they have also got a net run rate which is double the size of any other team in the competition which can often be a guide as to how well a team is going. The Royals weren’t far away from four wins from their opening four matches but they couldn’t quite hold their nerve deep into their third match but despite that they have started well.
The Royals have been going great guns with the bat and they are a bit of an anomaly in that all three of their wins have come when they have posted a score. It will be interesting to see how they go with the bat when they have to chase a target down, especially if it is an imposing score, but they certainly have the bat first and pile the runs up and then defend them process covered. A win here will have the Royals in a good place but defeat opens the door to a lot of teams.
When the season started I wasn’t sure what to make of the Gujarat Titans but they have begun their Indian Premier League existence very positively. Like their opponents here they have won three of their four matches but their defeat came last time out against the Sunrisers Hyderabad which might have dented their confidence a little. Even so, if you had offered them three wins from their first four games I’m sure they would have taken that.
The Gujarat bowling was particularly impressive in the initial stages of the campaign. That was no real surprise when you consider that Rashid Khan is in their side but their seamers had really caught the eye. The last two matches have just seen them leak a little oil with the ball though and they will be looking for a positive display with the bowlers here. They have plenty of batting in their ranks although there are one or two players that they could do with finding form.
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Yuzvendra Chahal has the Purple Cap at the present time and he is going to be important for the Rajasthan Royals in the middle overs here. There are some aggressive players in the Titans team which Chahal can both keep quiet and get out.
If teams let Rajasthan Royals get away from them then they are hard to peg back so the new ball spell of Mohammad Shami could be what decides this match. If he can get Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson early it will throw the game open.
The Rajasthan Royals have won the sixes match in all four of their matches so far and I fancy that run can continue here against a Gujarat Titans team who have been a little shot shy this term. For all the power and danger in their middle order the Titans are yet to hit more than five sixes in a match while the Rajasthan Royals are averaging 11.5 sixes per match so far in the competition. That makes me think the 5/6 on Rajasthan to hit the most sixes is the way to go here.
Another reason why I like that bet is because 34 of those sixes have come from the top four players in the Royals batting whereas the top four for the Titans, the players in theory most likely to spend the longest amount of time at the crease, have hit just seven of them. That is a huge difference. Both these bowling units are going well and are generally hard to get away but Kane Williamson smashed this Titans attack for four sixes and he isn’t known to be a big hitter. That further confirms that Rajasthan hitting the most sixes should be a safe bet.
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