Defending Champions the Mumbai Indians have the honor of opening IPL 9 against a brand new franchise – albeit one that features some very familiar names. The Rising Pune Supergiants will be with us for the next two campaigns and having assembled a strong squad under coach Stephen Fleming, they offer some value ahead of Saturday’s curtain-raiser.
It’s a very tight result market in the lead up to the toss with Mumbai installed as narrow favorites at 1.81 while the Rising Pune Supergiants are the marginal outsiders at 2.00 with Bet365.
Ignore the fact that this is a new franchise: it’s one led by India’s T20 Captain MS Dhoni who will be joined by several of his former colleagues from Chennai Super Kings and they will be serious contenders for the trophy.
R Ashwin is the key in this bowling attack behind a new ball pairing that is likely to feature Mitchell Marsh and it will be interesting to see if the Australian ‘leggie’ Adam Zampa gets an early game. Zampa may have to wait his turn behind a strong overseas contingent that forms the spine of this team.
Pune have recruited former England T20 winner Kevin Pietersen along with Aussie captain Steve Smith and together with Faf Du Plessis, you feel they are automatic picks. Meanwhile, Dhoni and Ashwin are joined by some serious domestic talent in Ajinkya Rahane, Ishwar Pandey and Ishant Sharma.
That’s a fearsome line up and Rising Pune are clearly tempting at 2.00 at Bet365.
Two-time winners Mumbai Indians are largely unchanged from the squad that took the title twelve months ago. Rohit Sharma leads the side with Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard likely to be automatic picks but an interesting purchase sees England’s Jos Buttler line up with the champions.
Keeper / Batsman Buttler has enjoyed a devastating year with the bat and after a decent hand in the World T20, Mumbai should be looking to find him a place.
Lasith Malinga will not be around at the start of the tournament and losing the IPL’s all time leading wicket taker is an obvious blow. That is likely to leave Tim Southee, Corey Anderson and Marchant De Lange fighting for the last overseas slot.
What a set of players to start the tournament! The sides look to be evenly matched and that is reflected in the betting. Mumbai Indians have the benefit of home advantage and a settled squad but as the outsiders, Rising Pune Supergiants are worth your stake.
Anyone that’s been betting on the IPL on a consistent basis will not be surprised to see Rohit Sharma as favorite to top score for Mumbai at 3.75 with Bet365. The skipper has earned plenty of profits across several campaigns but Lendl Simmons is more tempting at 4.33 with Bet365 again.
For me it’s between Rohit and Lendl Simmons and based purely on form at the World T20, I would go with the West Indian.
For Rising Pune, things are less clear but Kevin Pietersen has been far more consistent in T20s across the world since giving up on the first class game and I would take KP at 4.00 with 888Sport.
Opening games in any tournament can sometimes be subdued and the ‘No batsman to pass 50’ bet looks good at 5.00 with Bet365. That is, in fact, a seriously good price for a bet that usually comes in at 2.75 – 3.00.
I will personally avoid that however and go for those two top batsman picks – Simmons for Mumbai and Pietersen for Pune. As for the result, it’s almost too close to call but a small stake on Pune gets the better value.